“People matter – now more than ever” – this was confirmed at the recent staging of A+A 2017, the leading international trade fair for safety, security and health at work. A total of 1,930 exhibitors from 63 countries and over 67,000 trade visitors (2015: 65,000) from more than 100 nations participated in the world’s largest trade fair for this sector held in Düsseldorf, Germany. Together with the International Congress for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine, A+A 2017 impressively emphasized the great importance of health and safety at the workplace.

“Here, A+A works together with its partners. Digitalization is no longer just something for the future and has now penetrated virtually all areas of life and work – just like the Internet of Things that now networks billions of things worldwide. It is remarkable that A+A is not just a stage for new technologies but is now also seen globally as a bridge between the past and the future of our world of work,” stated Joachim Schäfer, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf.

A special feature at A+A 2017 was the North American Pavilion, organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America, with 16 companies presenting their technologies. Overall, 56 U.S. and Canadian companies participated in A+A 2017.

Bigger and More International than Ever: Top Marks across all Fields The organizers and exhibitors were pleased with A+A 2017. The exhibitors presented the latest trends in the fields of occupational safety, promotion of health at work and security management in nine halls occupying for the first time 761,360 square feet. At 40%, the proportion of international visitors also exceeded the results of previous stagings. “A+A is continually growing and underlines at all levels its relevance for the sector as the world’s leading trade fair and congress event,” commented Joachim Schäfer. “We are proud that we were able to send strong signals to the markets and key impulses for political debate on a worldwide level.”

Platform for Innovations and Investment

“People matter – what an appropriate statement,” said Klaus Bornack, President of the A+A 2017 Trade Fair Advisory Board and Managing Director of Bornack GmbH & Co. KG. “A great A+A once again moved the sector with many innovative products, even more exhibitors from all specialist fields and, in turn, a rising number of very interested trade visitors from home and abroad with specific technical queries and a great deal of interest. This is confirmation that PPE is a growth market and that A+A is a leading international marketplace for safety at work.”

No. 1 International Event for Workwear

The strong interest from the visitors in high-quality personal protective equipment and protective workwear as well as the good investment climate was evident at A+A 2017. Popular was protective workwear that is increasingly also being worn in the private sphere. “While protective workwear in the past was generally uncomfortable and not particularly fashionable, employees today are often in public wearing these cloths. Thanks to the development of high-tech clothing in the sports and outdoor sectors, people no longer have to do without top design and optimum performance. This was also confirmed by the over 200 corporate fashion exhibitors and the newly designed fashion shows,” explained Birgit Horn, Director A+A 2017.

The Future of Work is Now

From smart skin sensors and the measuring of vital parameters to back-friendly exoskeletons and smart fleet management, data glasses and sensor-controlled fall protection: the future of work is now. This was apparent not only by the new A+A Highlight Route but also by renowned exhibitors such as 3M, BORNACK, Honeywell, Uvex and the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) focusing on “Smart PPE”, “Digitalization of Work” and “Digital Applications and Solutions” – from the prototype to the mass-produced product. Also addressed were aspects including the urgently required reorganization of work processes for the ageing population or the new demands on the work sector from the younger generation.

At the Highest Specialist Level: The A+A Congress

Over the four days of the trade fair, some 5,000 congress delegates took part in the International Congress for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine, organized by the Federal Association for Occupational Safety and Health (Basi). “We had a very exciting A+A congress,” remarked Bruno Zwingmann, Basi Managing Director. “For the first time we were able to welcome new groups of people interested in occupational safety – for instance, representatives of the severely disabled who also discussed the founding of an umbrella association at the congress.” The 60 focal sessions dealt with topics such as production operations with ageing workforces in Germany, positive aspects of digitalization as well as  mental stress with focus on small businesses and “fighting cancer in the workplace”. The A+A Congress was accompanied by the conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

A Top Issue: Fire Prevention

An important topic at A+A 2017 was fire prevention and the trade fair showcased the entire spectrum for modern firefighters: protective clothing and protective equipment for head, eyes, body, hands, feet, ears and breathing. Also on display were procedures for accident and major disasters prevention and rescue missions.

The next staging of A+A is scheduled for November 5 – 8, 2019 in Düsseldorf Germany. For further information on visiting or exhibiting at A+A 2019, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America, 150 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2920, Chicago, IL 60601. Telephone: (312) 781-5180; Fax: (312) 781-5188; E-mail: info@mdna.com; Visit our web site www.aplusa-online.com or http://www.mdna.com; Follow us on twitter at http://twitter.com/OccSafety_MDNA

For hotel and travel information, contact TTI Travel, Inc. at (866) 674-3476; Fax: (212) 674-3477; E-mail: info@ttitravel.net; www.traveltradeint.com

Exhibitor Testimonials:

Stefan Brück, CEO, uvex safety group

“The uvex safety group looks back on a successful A+A 2017. We had a very high visitor number from day one and this continued on the following trade fair days. Tomorrow’s themes such as wearable technologies met with a lot of interest thus widening the portfolio of  A+A.”

Dr. Walter Eichendorf, Deputy Director General, German Compulsory Accident Insurance (DGUV) “For us A+A is the most important and by far the biggest trade fair commitment. This is where every two years the employers’ liability insurances and accident insurance bodies join forces with the DGUV to form one big consulting zone at Meeting Point Safety and Health. We are active at many international events from the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work to the Paralympic Games but A+A as the world’s leading trade fair on all facets of health and safety is unrivalled. All key national target groups and many international contacts find us in Düsseldorf and it was quite tricky to cope with the enormous need for advice and discussion. But for us A+A is not just the world’s leading fair but now also the only central platform for the global exchange of information on the future of work. For this reason we consciously launched at A+A our new, 10-year campaign for the creation of a culture for preventions with the heading ‘kommmitmensch’ (a combination of the German words for commitment and people).

Heiner van Elten, CEO, ELTEN GmbH:

“A+A in Düsseldorf is always one of the most important trade fairs for us to meet and inform our partners, distributors and potential new customers. As one of the leading safety footwear producers our ambition is to present our innovations and new developments to an interested and enthusiastic audience. The positive and direct feedback we received at our stand confirms our commitment to A+A.”

Torsten Ritzmann, Distribution Manager for Equipment/Extinguishing Systems with Statutory Authority, Rosenbauer Deutschland GmbH “The trade fair was very good for us and we can very well imagine exhibiting again at A+A in 2019. We had a great stand location in the attractive environment of Hall 6 and therefore enjoyed good visitor footfall with many high-quality trade visitors from the areas of emergency, fire protection and disaster relief – precisely the group we wanted to target at A+A. For us the percentage of decision-makers was especially impressive.”

Burkhard Remmers, International Communication, Wilkhahn “The enormous response to our participation at A+A shows that the new challenges presented by the need for the humane design of digitalized office work have been understood in the OSH field. There is great interest and willingness to explore new avenues. For us the high percentage of international trade fair visitors travelling here from as far away as Australia was particularly striking.”

Ing. Markus Buchegger, Channels Manager Europe, MSA Technologies and Enterprise Services GmbH "A+A 2017 was a resounding success for us. Numerous visitors have seen our complete portfolio of safety solutions, fall protection and compressed air breathing apparatuses as well as portable and stationary gas measuring devices and industrial hard hats. They exchanged ideas with our experts on our multi-gas measuring device and experienced how fast and incredibly robust it is in daily live demonstrations. Visitors were just as thrilled with our Fall Protection Truck and the Virtual Reality."

Johannes Sitzmann, CEO & General Manager, deb-STOKO Europe GmbH “As one of the leading companies for professional skin protection there is no alternative to A+A as a platform in Europe for us. It is “our” trade fair to introduce our innovations, new products and lines to existing and new customers – especially from the DACH region. Visitor numbers were fantastic – our stand was very well attended from day one.”