Birgit Horn
Birgit Horn

EHS Today sat down in Dusseldorf with Birgit Horn, the director of A+A, to discover what occupational safety and health topics are trending with the 65,000 attendees and 1,940+ exhibitors.

Birgit Horn is a lightning bolt of energy, making her way through a crowd of people leaving morning sessions of the 35th International Congress for Occupational Health and Occupational Medicine on Oct. 18. When asked how she’s doing, she replies that she’s good, but that the response to A+A and the conference has been so intense that the local transportation system – buses, trains and taxis – were overwhelmed that morning, making for some late starts.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Horn, the director of the massive endeavor that is A+A, acknowledges with a smile.

A+A – the Trade Fair for Safety, Security and Health at Work and the 35th International Congress for Occupational Health and Occupational Medicine, managed by Messe Dusseldorf GmbH, are occurring in Düsseldorf from Oct. 17-20 and they provide an overview of the latest trends in occupational safety and health. On the products and services side, exhibits range from corporate “fashion” (office design) and ergonomic office furniture;

to PPE, fire protection and emergency management; to health and wellness; to safety management, software and environmental protection measures.

Horn said that the congress includes experts from occupational health and safety management, HR managers, labor leaders, occupational physicians and nurses, emergency responders, representatives from workers’ compensation insurance carriers, corporate leaders and occupational safety and health organizations, like the International Labor Organization (ILO), the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the National Research Centre for the Working Environment (Denmark), the German Social Accident Insurance (the national workers’ compensation insurance provider), the UK Health and Safety Executive and the German Federal Association for Occupational Safety and Health (Basi). The 35th International Congress for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine – organized by Basi – features 50 lectures that address current issues and as well as a conference-within-a-conference that has been organized by ILO.

The theme of A+A 2017 is the Future of Work – what Horn calls “Work 4.0” – the “digitization” of work and its impact on employees in terms of technological advances such as robots in the workplace, “smart” PPE and monitoring of remote employees.

Driven by trends such as digitization,…