Safety training is a crucial aspect of any workplace, and it’s no secret that traditional methods of training can be boring and ineffective. However, new technology has emerged that has the potential to revolutionize the way we train our employees to stay safe on the job. Virtual reality (VR) has been gaining popularity as a tool for safety training, and for good reason. For example, Iowa State University’s 2011 Welding Journal study showed that welders who underwent virtual reality training for at least half of their lessons achieved better results in four measured qualifications than those trained with the traditional method. And, in another case, QinetiQ, a UK-based company reported that the Coal Mine Safety Virtual Reality Training program they developed and implemented for Coal Services, Pty, in New South Wales, resulted in lost-time injury rates falling by approximately 43% despite growing their workforce by 62% and increasing coal production by 25%.
One of the biggest advantages of VR for safety training is the ability to immerse trainees in a realistic, simulated environment. This allows them to experience and practice dealing with potential hazards and emergencies in a controlled setting, without the risk of actual harm. The result is a more engaging and effective training experience, which can lead to better retention of information and improved performance in real-world situations. This is because when trainees are placed in a realistic, immersive environment, they are more likely to be engaged and focused on the task at hand, which leads to better retention of information. Additionally, the ability to practice dealing with potential hazards and emergencies in a controlled setting, allows employees to build their confidence and become more familiar with the necessary procedures to handle these situations, which in turn leads to better performance in real-world situations.
Another benefit of VR safety training is the ability to customize the training to the specific needs of the company and its employees. By using VR, trainers can easily create simulations that match the layout and equipment of the actual workplace, as well as simulate specific scenarios and situations that employees may encounter on the job. This allows for a tailored training experience that is more relevant and useful for the trainees. This is beneficial for companies that have unique operations or processes, as it allows them to provide training that is specific to their employees’ needs. Additionally, it allows employees to become familiar with their specific work environment and procedures, which can lead to better performance and increased safety.
VR also allows for greater flexibility in training. With traditional methods, training typically takes place in a specific location and at a specific time. But with VR, trainees can complete their training from anywhere and at any time, which makes it more convenient and accessible for employees with busy schedules. This allows companies to provide training to employees even if they are not able to attend traditional in-person training sessions. Additionally, it allows employees to complete the training at their own pace, which can be beneficial for those who may have difficulty focusing during longer training sessions.
In addition, VR training can also be used for remote training, which can be especially useful for companies with multiple locations or for training employees who work remotely. This allows for a consistent training experience across all employees, regardless of location. This is particularly beneficial for companies with multiple locations, as it allows them to provide the same level of training to all employees, regardless of their location. Additionally, it allows remote employees to receive the same level of training as their on-site counterparts, which can increase safety and performance.
Moreover, VR training can also reduce costs associated with traditional training methods. This can be especially beneficial for companies with a large number of employees or for those that require regular safety training. Instead of the need for expensive equipment, trainers or travel for off-site training, VR allows for the creation of an immersive training experience at a fraction of the cost. This can be a significant cost savings for companies, as traditional training methods can be expensive. Additionally, it allows for employees to receive training more frequently, which can lead to better performance and increased safety.
Another benefit of VR safety training is the ability to track progress and measure results. With VR, trainers can easily track the progress of trainees, monitor their performance, and provide feedback. This allows for a more targeted and effective training experience, and helps to ensure that employees are proficient in the skills they need to stay safe on the job. This allows trainers to identify areas where employees may need additional training and provide targeted instruction to address these areas. Additionally, it allows trainers to monitor employee performance and provide feedback, which can lead to improved performance and increased safety.
Lastly, VR safety training can be used to simulate emergency scenarios which can be a critical aspect of training. For example, firefighters can practice extinguishing fires in VR environments, while healthcare professionals can practice emergency procedures such as dealing with a pandemic. This can give employees the confidence they need to handle real-world emergencies, ultimately saving lives. This type of training is particularly important for employees in high-risk fields, as it allows them to become familiar with emergency procedures and build the confidence they need to handle real-world emergencies. Additionally, it allows employees to practice emergency procedures in a safe and controlled environment, which can lead to better performance in real-world situations and ultimately save lives.
In conclusion, virtual reality technology has many benefits for safety training, including improved retention of information, increased engagement, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. It offers a more realistic and effective training experience, which can lead to better performance in real-world situations, increased safety and ultimately saving lives. As the technology continues to evolve, it’s likely that we’ll see more and more companies using VR as a tool for safety training. Employers should consider investing in VR technology for their safety training programs to increase employee engagement, performance, and ultimately save lives.
- Image reference: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reality_check_ESA384313.jpg
- Stone, R. T., Watts, K., & Zhong, P. (2011). Virtual Reality Integrated Welder Training: A Scientific Evaluation of Training Potential, Cost Effectiveness, and Implication for Effective Team Learning:
- An interview that the Engineering and Mining Journal conducted with QinetiQ’s Sue Allen, the company’s head of sales for global non-military markets: