The occupational safety sector is on the way up worldwide and awareness for safety and health risks at the workplace has risen noticeably, a trend that is reflected by the results at A+A 2007 in Düsseldorf, Germany, according to a final report from the A+A 2007 press office. The four-day international trade fair for safety, security and health at work drew to a close on Friday, Sept. 21, with record results.

According to the report, 55,100 trade visitors attended A+A 2007 (compared to 54,350 in 2005), with 1,460 exhibitors from 51 nations. Held concurrently, the international A+A Congress registered approximately 6,000 participants, making it the foremost event for the occupational safety and health community, the press report says.

Commenting on the increased recognition for preventive measures and the positive development of A+A, Eugen Müller, the Chairman of Basi e.V., the Federal Working Group on Safety and Health at Work, which organized the congress, said: “Occupational safety has turned from a marginal issue into a modern discipline in the business process chain. A+A has accompanied it on this path and provided important momentum.”

The fact that A+A also serves as an indicator for safety and security trends on the pan-European market is also evidenced by the high turnout of international visitors, according to the A+A report. More than one in five visitors travelled to Düsseldorf from abroad.

“After years of stagnation, the German market for protective products is finally growing again, too,” said Gerd Zeisler, president of the A+A 2007 Advisory Board. “Obviously, safety and security-related subjects are increasingly becoming the focus of attention for top management. At A+A 2007 there were noticeably more decision-makers present than in previous years.”

Zeisler’s statement, says the A+A report, is confirmed by an updated market study published by GfK, the “Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung” (Lifestyle Research Group). According to the study, the market volume for personal protective equipment (PPE) in Germany rose by 11 percent in the period 2004 to 2006 to a current level of Euro 1.42 billion. Experts put the total volume of the European market at Euro 4 to 5 billion.

In his keynote address at the A+A opening ceremony, Franz Müntefering, the Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, underlined the importance of safety and health at work for increasing productivity. “Safety and health are indispensable prerequisites for maintaining and promoting employees’ performance. This affects all of us — companies but also social security funds and politicians,” he said.

In view of the process of demographic change, Müntefering requested that working conditions be structured in such a way as to allow employees to remain in their jobs until they reach retirement age and avoid early-out schemes.

Featured at A+A was a congress organized by the International Labour Organisation (ILO – UN organisation) entitled “Decent Work as a Global Goal and National Reality.” The event attracted delegates from 65 nations.

At the A+A trade fair 1,460 exhibitors presented the entire spectrum of products and services for personal protection, collective security and health promotion at the workplace. Product highlights, according to the A+A press report, included: a novel bio-feedback diagnostic device for diagnosing muscle tensions caused by wrong postures at desk workplaces; a modern shield for noise abatement in open-plan offices; unobtrusive designer smokers’ cubicles with efficient smoke extraction; sound-dampening surface profiles for office furniture; and innovative high-tech thermal-imaging cameras.

For more details on A+A 2007, visit http://www.AplusA-online.de.

The next A+A will be held in Düsseldorf from Nov. 3-6, 2009.