Virtual Reality Health and Safety Training – A Solution in Search of a Problem?
One of the greatest benefits of virtual reality for training is that the technology allows participants to practice trial and error, without facing real-world consequences. This is of even greater significance when applied to health and safety training, where real-world trial and error could actually be quite dangerous.
Here, we explore how VR is changing health and safety training for the better and how Virtual Reality Experiences can help your organisation to take advantage of this ground-breaking new approach.
Case Study: The Lathe Simulator
An app released for the HTC Vive, titled “Lathe Safety Simulator”, is a brilliant example of how virtual reality can be used for health and safety training, teaching important safety ideas while avoiding exposing students to any genuine risk.
Lathes are potentially lethal pieces of industrial equipment, especially when used improperly by beginners. This makes them an ideal candidate for VR-based health and safety training. While it’s perfectly possible to learn to operate this machinery on the real thing, doing it in virtual reality reduces the cost of making a mistake to zero. Not only can VR training help to avoid serious injuries in a scenario like this one, but participants can also learn more quickly and confidently due to the safety of the virtual environment.
A VRE staff member recounted their close call with a lathe to the team. Working as an apprentice at an automotive manufacturer, he decided to use the sleeve of his overalls to polish a piece of metal that was spinning on the lathe. To his surprise, the material became caught, was wrapped around the lathe and his sleeve was ripped clear off – all in a matter of milliseconds. Thankfully he was uninjured, but perhaps the whole thing could have been avoided with a few VR-based health and safety sessions beforehand.
The well produced Lathe Safety Simulator application walks users through the basics of lathe operation, from fitting materials, powering up the machine, to safely turning their first piece. The simulator makes the potential for injury very clear and the slightly gruesome visuals will hopefully stay with trainees, ensuring that they understand why following health and safety best practice is so important.
Benefits of VR-based Health & Safety Training
Learning to use heavy machinery isn’t the only time that VR makes health and safety training better.
Engineers for offshore wind turbines have already discovered the benefits of VR training, which allows them to practice certain procedures from their base on dry land, while doctors and surgeons are learning about new equipment and techniques in VR before applying their learning in the real world.
The benefits of VR training in these high-stakes scenarios are obvious, but there are benefits for those of us training participants in less risky fields, too. Virtual reality offers us the opportunity to reduce costs, improve access and increase engagement across all types of health and safety training.
As well as saving on the costs of having health and safety trainers attending your place of work, VR health and safety programmes have the added convenience of being available to your staff at any time. Just start up your VR headset in any spare moment and you’re ready to learn.
Participants are able to progress at their own pace, ensuring that trainees aren’t shuffled along to the next activity before the learning objective has been met, as can sometimes happen when training in groups.
How VRE Can Help
Getting the right expertise involved in the development of your organization’s VR-based health and safety training programme can mean the difference between an average and a highly effective outcome.
Virtual Reality Experiences’ team includes trained psychologists who have worked in industry and have extensive learning and development experience – meaning we are best positioned to help you to improve health and safety practices in your organisation, regardless of sector.
We’re able to:
Create custom VR training simulations for your specific needs, using the popular HTC Vive or Oculus Rift platforms
Create augmented reality apps for Hololens, which overlay health and safety instructions over the actual equipment that trainees will be using
Create AR training apps for mobile or tablet using the latest AR Kit technology
Combine our extensive expertise with cutting-edge technology to ensure first-class health and safety training in a controlled environment
As well as building your custom training applications in VR or AR, we’re able to deliver the training at your place of work, a venue, a classroom environment or a shop floor – whatever is necessary for the best outcome. Alternatively, we can train your staff members to deliver the training to the wider team themselves. Whatever your needs our bespoke service can be adapted to suit.
It has even be adapted to be used in all niches, even in the carpet cleaning niche. Vale Carpet Cleaning who are based in Cardiff are testing it to assist in the training of their carpet cleaners.
Ensuring Optimal Outcomes
Ultimately, you are the experts when it comes to your business. While our mission is to ensure that health and safety is being taught effectively and safely within your organisation, we look forward to listening to you and learning about your needs and goals in this area.
By working together closely, we’ll be able to ensure that our expertise and equipment are put to best use and your organisation gets the absolute most from it’s investment in VR-based health and safety training.
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