Smart textiles are a buzzword that is becoming increasingly common in the working world. They can be practical, but they can also improve work safety. One example comes from ADRESYS Adaptive Regelsysteme GmbH - which has developed a system that recognises certain emergencies and then takes immediate action - switching off the power and calling for help, for example. A conversation with Nicole Burtscher, Marketing & Sales Expert.

Why is occupational safety in the electrical sector so important?

First of all, 99 percent of electrical accidents are very harmless, like the classic grip on the socket. The one percent that is dangerous, on the other hand, often goes undetected: symptoms can occur with a delay of up to five days, which is why there is often no connection to the electrical accident. These include heart problems, breathing difficulties, damage to the brain and lungs or even blood poisoning. We have been working in the electrical industry for many years, this problem has come up again and again. Three years ago we decided to do something about it.

How do intelligent systems work on textiles and electronics?

Smart textiles, that's always textile in combination with electronics. It reacts to changes in the environment or in the wearer himself and can then communicate with the wearer - via acoustic or optical signals. The charming thing is that you can make something great out of a normal work shirt that increases occupational safety.

And how exactly does your system work?

We took a normal shirt as a basis and fitted it with electrodes on the upper arms. We can use them to measure a voltage drop, which is the criterion for an electrical accident. There are also position and movement sensors, so we can detect falls and motionlessness. If such an emergency situation is detected, an emergency call can be made independently via a mobile phone and the power source can be switched off. The time that an affected person remains in the circuit is therefore short and the rescue chain is immediately set in motion.

What are your plans for the future?

There is still little data on electrical accidents. We hope that our own data evaluation will enable us to define training measures to further increase occupational safety. And to raise awareness of the dangers involved in working with voltage