The recent staging of A+A 2015, International Trade Fair with Congress for Safety, Security and Health at Work, reflected companies’ increasing investment in occupational health and safety: a record of more than 65,000 visitors (2013: 63,000) took part to get an extensive overview of the latest trends in occupational health and safety, health promotion at work and safety and security management. More than 30% of all visitors came from outside Germany (from 80 nations), a further growth compared to the last staging in 2013. A total of 1,887 exhibitors from 57 countries showcased their products.
The transformation of the working environment is gaining further momentum. Increasing workplace digitization and respective demographic trends have created new challenges but also new opportunities. Companies are facing these developments actively by investing more money in sustaining their employees’ working capacities and also in humane working conditions and processes.
The international A+A congress organized by the German Federal Association for Occupational Safety and Health (Basi) featured a wide range of topics and attracted more than 5,000 delegates. It was accompanied by with the conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Social Security Organization (ISSA) with its high-caliber speakers.
In her opening statement, Andrea Nahles, German Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, focused in particular on the importance of preventative healthcare in the changing working environment, stating that a flexible compromise is needed: “When we talk about the future of the workplace, we must always include occupational health and safety. The digitization of the workplace offers a large number of opportunities. Companies can boost their productivity and employees can achieve better working condition and more flexible working hours. However, there are also risks. Performance optimization, time pressure, sensory overload and continuous availability can cause mental stress.”
Visitors were keen to invest and were very much interested in high-quality personal protection equipment and clothing. This was confirmed by a study about the German personal protection equipment sector submitted at A+A 2015 by the market research company macrom. According to the study, the market volume has again increased by over 4% in sectors where personal protection equipment is particularly vital - such as construction and manufacturing - reaching a total of EUR 1.8 billion over the last two years, despite stagnating payroll figures. This is about one tenth of the world’s entire market volume.
Product highlights at A+A 2015 included gas warning systems which combine gas detectors, tracking functions and software applications. The gas status can be visualized anywhere and at any time within a company’s premises.
When it comes to personal protection equipment for specific body parts, protective clothing and workwear (with its current emphasis on corporate fashion), there is a clear trend to add an emotional appeal. Modern workwear is becoming similar to fashionable outdoor clothing, both in shape and color.
The next A+A will be held in Düsseldorf from October 17- 20, 2017.