Virtual Reality (VR) is now a Reality for Work at Height Training

Virtual Reality (VR) is now a Reality for Work at Height Training

12th July 2018

Here at Safety Fabrications we keep our finger on the pulse so you don’t have to – we’re always on the lookout for news of new developments that affect the construction industry so that we can keep our readers fully up to date with the current state of our sector.  In the past, we’ve reported on new technology and some welcome developments which have changed the construction industry, whether these developments are in new methods and techniques, new materials or technological progress.  With safety one of the most important issues in construction activities, making our industry safer is the name of the game.

While falls from height are still one of the most common causes of fatalities and serious, life changing injuries, any method of reducing the risks involved with working at height, or even eliminating the requirement to work at height can only be an improvement.  This is why we’re excited by the news that Virtual Reality (VR) and simulators hold huge potential for our sector in future. 

From an employer’s perspective, VR has expanded the possibility of how to train workers and a VR platform means that employees can be dropped into any situation or location imaginable and interact with items that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to include in a traditional training environment.  Most people’s learning model is experiential which is why on the job training is so effective.  Learning by doing is the best approach when it comes to training and VR offers organisations the ability to create scenarios in which employees are learning by doing without any adverse consequences when they make mistakes. 

Most enterprise learning environments struggle to deliver experiential learning activities so that learners can see how they will react in stressful situations and identify any performance gaps that stand in their way.  VR means that learners can gain valuable online training experience and prepare for all sorts of eventualities before they even enter the workplace.

Just take a look at some of the advantages for businesses of VR learning:

  • Improved safety in on the job training activities
  • Cost effective, comprehensive education for new recruits
  • Increased productivity
  • Remote learning of this type saves both time and money
  • It works for a variety of learning styles
  • Makes training enjoyable and engaging.

Scaffolders are at the leading edge when it comes to using VR to enhance and reinforce safety training for working at height.  It helps employees to understand the catastrophic consequences that may result from poor planning and work practices.  Exposing trainees to real consequences in an immersive learning environment leads to an increase in both their perception and awareness of risks which increases safety awareness and aid hazard identification which it is hoped will bring about behavioural changes.  

There are training models that cover safety issues at different heights on high rise buildings, beginning at ground level.  3D visuals are generated based on accurate BIM models of scaffolding and an inbuilt feature realistically simulates the effect of accidentally dropping a tool or scaffolding tube from height. 

Another consequence of the adoption of VR and simulators for construction industry and work at height training is that it’s likely to attract more school leavers into the industry at a time when our sector here in the UK desperately needs to recruit a whole new generation of workers in order to deliver the housing and infrastructure that Britain will need over the coming decades.