Safety on show at A+A
A brief review of this major trade fair.
The biennial A+A health and safety show held in the German city of Düsseldorf is arguably the largest of its kind in the world (and easily the biggest in Europe). More than 1,800 companies were represented at the latest edition held in October, with over 65,000 visitors attending to learn about the latest trends in occupational health and safety, health promotion at work and safety and security management. Some 30 per cent of the attendees were international delegates from 80 countries, which the organisers say is an increase since the 2013 event.
As one of Europe’s foremost test houses and Notified Bodies for personal protective equipment (PPE), SATRA has attended this exhibition regularly over the last 20 years. At this fair, the Technology Centre’s stand was well positioned in hall 3, with the SATRA team welcoming a good number of visitors during the four days of the show.
The core stand team consisted of Mike Cooper, Simon Courtney and Pete Doughty, who explained the full range of PPE activities and quality assurance related services appropriate to testing and certification of safety equipment. SATRA’s blade cut and Martindale abrasion test machines were demonstrated to show the value of SATRA test equipment. Staff from the footwear testing department and the membership team also attended, and were on hand to discuss how SATRA can help throughout the global supply chain. Peter Allen (divisional manager for SATRA’s test equipment and laboratory accreditation operations) also attended the exhibition.
The SATRA team was kept busy throughout the event answering technical queries and enquiries for testing. These covered the full range of SATRA’s test and Notified Body activities but, most noticeably, the areas of safety footwear certification, fall protection testing and glove applications.
What the delegates saw
Running alongside the A+A Show, the international A+A Congress was organised by the German Federal Association for Occupational Safety and Health (Basi). This convention attracted over 5,000 delegates to its 60 events, which featured 350 speakers discussing a wide range of subjects.
A+A exhibitors presented a comprehensive array of products and services for personal protection. According to Klaus Bornack, president of the trade fair committee, the industry is in a good position and is looking forward to new business arising from the fair.
“A+A has given us some good momentum,” he stated. “The exhibition halls were consistently well frequented on each of the trade event days and attracted a highly skilled audience.”
The latest styles and functional aspects in occupational and protective clothing were highlighted by exhibitors’ daily presentations of collections at the A+A Fashion Show in Hall 11. Two ‘theme parks’ – one dedicated to innovation in safety and security, and another built around fire protection and emergency management – were aimed specially at corporate fire services. These offered a programme of information and live, hands-on demonstrations on the prevention of accidents and large-scale disasters.
Visitors could also experience a special section of the fair entitled ‘Corporate Health’. This featured exhibitors’ products and services on corporate health promotion and healthy workplace design, and an area devoted to workplace design.
One of the conclusions reached by the A+A organisers is that there is a clear trend for manufacturers to add an emotive appeal to protective clothing and workwear (with its current emphasis on corporate fashion). A post-exhibition report highlighted that modern workwear needs to look ‘cool’ and is becoming more and more similar to fashionable outdoor clothing – both in shape and colour. Nevertheless, of course, functional aspects continue to be vital. The next A+A Show is scheduled for 17th-20th October 2017.
This article was originally published on page 38 of the January 2016 issue of SATRA Bulletin.