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THE AEFI TECHNICAL COMMISSION AT WORK ON HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK AT THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS

The guidelines for starting again with a new look, guaranteeing safe, healthy and virus-free districts

The AEFI Technical Commission met in a conference call, in compliance with Government measures, which saw the participation of numerous Operations Directors of the associated trade fairs.
The main topic on the agenda, health and safety in the exhibition districts at the time of Covid-19, as well as an update of the guidelines by INAL (National Insurance Institute for Occupational Accidents), still with regard to health and safety at work.

The Commission Coordinator, Nazario Pedini, opened the proceedings by tracing an analysis of the complex situation that the exhibition districts are facing following the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic and the necessary measures to adopt to guarantee safe, healthy, clean and virus-free districts.
The dramatically unique experience of Covid-19 is destined to modify the behaviour and choices of the exhibition district Operations Directors, an event from which lessons can be learnt in order to be able to relaunch facilities and events with an even greater emphasis on health and safety.

In addition to the indispensable sanitisation operations of the halls and offices, already carried out as required by the Prime Minister’s Decree of 11 March, the Commission remembered all the rules and good practices for safeguarding the health of the workers and all the people involved in the organisation and management of a trade fair event.

There is a lot to be implemented both in the offices and the halls: from the increase in the cleaning services with disinfectant products – with particular regard for all surfaces in contact with employees -, to the installation of dispensers with certified disinfectant products at the entrances and in the bathrooms, with their use for hand sanitisation being obligatory, up to the more frequent cleaning of the AHU – Air Handling Units, treating filters, batteries and internal surfaces with specific disinfectant products based on ethanol, sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide as indicated in Circular 5443 of 22 February 2020 from the Ministry of Health.

As far as the districts and halls are concerned, before commencing any installations, good practice foresees the necessity to disinfect all the routes, floors, walls and ceilings of the district with nebulising disinfectant products using equipment such as electrostatic atomisers, which work by loading the water particles with electrostatic energy, thus guaranteeing adhesion to the surfaces to which they are directed.

It will also be essential to intensify the cleaning with specific disinfectant products of spaces that are in contact with the public, in addition to the installation of dispensers with disinfectant products at the entrances, in the bathrooms, in the bar / refreshment areas and in the temporary offices.
To ensure healthy air, every district must provide for the cleaning and disinfection of the AHU – Air Handling Units before every event.

In addition to the guarantee of adequate medical assistance during the events, it is important to prepare a project for manual or automatic body temperature screening at the entrances, to be activated in case of need. This project must also include a sanitary management process for anyone with an excessive temperature.

In order to be aligned worldwide, the Commission has examined the guidelines of UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. In addition to the measures already identified by AEFI, UFI suggests to the various organisations to adopt a Policy for Covid-19 and for any other events that could occur, and a Plan containing the steps necessary to implement the policy including the activation of a team for the management of the crisis and a First Aid point suitable for the management of infectious diseases by providing for the presence of one or more specialised doctors and equipping operators with the necessary PPE (masks – white coats – gloves – goggles – shoe covers, etc.).

A specific session of the meeting of the Technical Commission was finally dedicated to an update of the Inail guidelines. The final document, completed after 6 years of joint activity with the Technical Round Table with Inail, Asal and Cfi, takes into account the complexity of the sector and the objective differences between the districts and events. It is a useful tool for organising activities. The guidelines imposed give the centres the possibility of getting started through territorial agreements with Local Authorities that preside over Health and Safety matters.


AEFI – Italian Exhibition and Trade Fair Association, a private non-profit Association, was established in 1983 with the goal of generating synergies between the most important Italian exhibition districts. AEFI currently has 36 member exhibition districts, which organise over 1,000 events a year over an overall exhibition area of 4.2 million square metres. Nearly all international and national trade fairs which take place each year in Italy are held in AEFI-member exhibition districts. AEFI is a privileged partner for operators and institutions alike, and its role is to support members through the development of activities and programmes in the sphere of training, marketing, promotion and research, as well as to provide services for trade fairs through the activities of its Committees: Exhibition Hub Technical Committee, Legal-Administrative Committee, Internationalisation Committee and Trade Fairs Network Committee. On the internationalisation front, AEFI supports members thanks to agreements with strategic markets. To date, partnerships have been agreed with Iran, Taiwan, Lebanon, India, Thailand, South Africa and Poland, with AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, with CENTREX, the International Exhibition Statistics Union and with EUPIC-EU Project Innovation Center. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with SACE and SIMEST. AEFI has promoted the foundation of ISFCert, the Certification Institute for Exhibition Industry Statistics which, through rigorous methodologies, enables Italian organisers to present and recognise standardised data, in the name of transparency and reliability. AEFI represents Italian trade fairs in UFI – Union of International Fairs.

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