Virtual Reality Health and Safety Training
Virtual Reality (VR) is well suited to health and safety training. Research has shown it increases retention for safety critical knowledge,in turn having a significant impact on competence and performance.
Attempts to simulate work environments are not new. As soon as we worked out how to get airplanes in the air, we created models on the ground so that pilots could get familiar with the controls in safety. Over time, more realistic simulators have been developed, although most relying on 2-D images, and available only to industries with very high risks and very large pockets. VR hardware and software costs have come down, making it possible for all types of organisations to include immersive VR training in their health and safety (HS) programmes.
We are VR training specialists, and offer both off-the-shelf training products and bespoke training design for specific applications or industries.
If you are looking to update your HS training, and you are considering VR as part of that, we are happy to discuss your requirements. Our team includes IOSH chartered HS experts with years of experience in industry, allowing us to offer a joined-up approach to training, HS and VR.
We offer a training platform that covers the common training areas in companies and allows companies to select relevant modules for induction, refresher and ongoing training. These include:
Slips, Trips and Falls
The VR application tests users to identify the main hazards in a simulated environment. At the end of the assessment learners are taken through their responses, helping them to understand anything they missed.
Fire Safety Awareness
This module checks users understand the correct response to finding a fire. Raising the alarm and finding a safe evacuation route are prioritised, with optional sections on selecting and using an appropriate fire extinguisher for each fire type. Options are also available on routine testing as part of a fire management process, for example covering emergency lighting tests, alarm tests, evacuation route checks and fire extinguisher checks.
Harassment and Bullying
This module tackles the sensitive and often subtle forms of bullying that can take place in a workplace environment. As the trainee travels the office they will come across a series of situations that may or may not constitute bullying or harassment. Trainees have to identify situations correctly and are walked through the correct and incorrect responses at the end of the training to facilitate learning.
The confined spaces training module places trainees in a virtual reality scenario where they are operating in a confined space workplace. Learners are guided through the process of identifying the confined space as well as being introduced to strategies to prevent workplaces from becoming confined in the first place.
For times when team members are required to work in confined spaces, the training module places users in a scenario where they will have to make a confined workplace safe before entering it. Documentation, risk assessments and safety equipment relevant to confined spaces are introduced and learners are taught how to use these tools effectively and safely.
Our team are able to bespoke any of our existing modules to better suit your business’ needs.
You can model the virtual environment on your own workplace or add extra features, tests and options.
The sky is the limit. Contact us to discuss the possibilities of bespoke content.
Why VR for H&S?
VR gives learners to freedom to fail
You learn to ride a bike by wobbling – and then learning to balance. Being able to see the consequences of our actions has informed our learning throughout our lives. VR allows workers to make mistakes and ignore processes, and find out what happens – without actual harm. This is a more effective way of learning why a job needs to be carried out in a stated way than simply being taught the process.
VR can simulate high risk environments
Moving vehicles or trains, and working at height make it difficult and dangerous to train some workers on a real worksite. However, classroom training alone can lack a sense of realism such that learners don’t learn the increased level of hazard awareness needed to stay safe on site. VR can provide the bridge between classroom and onsite training. For example:
- Offshore wind turbine trainee engineers can be trained on key aspects of repair and maintenance, in the use of work at height and rescue equipment.
- Workers in the construction Industry can be trained to look out for vehicle movements, objects falling from height, trenches and excavations, as well as routine trip hazards, in a simulated environment.
- Road construction and rail track maintenance workers can be trained to carry out their tasks whilst maintaining awareness of vehicle or train movements around them.
VR can simulate difficult to access environments
If you need to train people for a specific project in a different country, which is difficult to access (such as work at height, in confined space, or offshore), or where the working conditions could be difficult (noisy, wet, dusty, extremes of temperature) then teaching people how to carry out that task in a virtual environment means they can build up competence first, and then learn to transfer those skills to another environment.
VR can simulate training with expensive and bulky equipment
For example, heavy plant used in mining or construction can be simulated for use in induction, on-going and refresher training.
VR allows a range of assessment options, especially useful for H&S training, allowing you to:
- Identify which of your employees have knowledge gaps
- Are there any problems with your H&S processes, are everyone making the same mistakes?
- Target limited follow up training resources on those that really need it
- Test processes before they are implemented in the field and anticipate and mitigate risks early
- Collect behavioural data and run analyses
Samsung Gear VR – for more mobile safety application
Where you need to have large numbers of operatives trained then the Samsung Gear VR is a useful training tool, allowing both 360 and VR environments and with the addition of the new Samsung Gear VR controller you also have different input options.
Oculus Rift – for more in-depth realistic applications
When a high level of realism and tracking is required then the Oculus Rift is a great choice for H&S training, allowing hazard identification and also movement and interaction in a VR environment allowing operatives to operate machinery and demonstrate processes in a highly detailed environment.
HTC Vive – for when large roomscale is required
Similar to the Oculus but with larger roomscale tracking this option is useful where you need more space for your VR training and for your trainees to be able to move around larger simulated spaces.
Hololens – when you want to train in real world environments
This is a great addition to H&S training and allows users to have additional instructions and guidance overlayed onto the real world environment.
Hololens does not replace the users view, instead they can see their normal view, with the crucial addition of AR guidance to support, guide and instruct them on the correct operation and process.
Hololens also allows expert users to piggyback on their training session and support them in real-time on the job.
Additional Resources and Support from VRE
Health and Safety (HS) Consultancy
Our team includes experienced health and safety consultants with years of experience across many sectors, because of this background we can also review all your existing HS processes and paperwork and provide additional consulting around the VR implementation to ensure you are compliant and operating to best practice across the board.
VRE can provide all the Virtual reality hire and equipment you may need for any HS training and our technical teams can cater to any size of HS training programmes at any location in the EU. Alternatively, we can also provide long term VR hire and train your own teams in its use.