Virtual Reality Improving Manufacturing Safety
Virtual reality and employee safety
Although these two terms certainly look like they don’t belong in the same sentence, thanks to the extended applications of VR, this crucial metric can be significantly improved, not only in manufacturing environments but also in corporations. Here’s how.
A new study by the University of Nottingham has found that worker safety can be impacted by implementing Virtual Reality technology in employer-sponsored health and safety trainings. Whether this pertains to simpler trainings like fire evacuation, or more complex tasks like operating production machinery, VR can play a positive role in preparing workers for any scenario they could experience on the job.
The hypothesis was tested by using an immersive VR tool that simulated elevated temperature levels while testing test subjects’ sensory experiences and their responses to perceived stimuli during a potential crisis. The researchers found out that by engaging hearing, sight and smell receptors in test subjects, they could recreate a more realistic fire emergency setting. And, the closer the simulation was to a real-life fire, the more accurate and appropriate the subjects’ responses were, based on their perceptions of the test environment – hence, the more prepared for actual fires they became.
Why is Virtual Reality training so effective?
The research conducted proposes that the VR training simulation offers higher cognitive engagement in the learning process. This is likely due to higher similarity with on-the-job learning scenarios, where workers experience events with all their sensory receptors and where the appropriate application of prior experience and acquired knowledge is required. VR training comes considerably closer to real-life work scenarios vs. an academic style of training, where employees receive passive knowledge about a subject but don’t have the chance to apply it in the real world. When it comes to such crucial training topics, such as health and safety, VR is the clear winner with regard to worker preparedness.
Training applications of VR
Safety and health training
Until recently, most production facilities conducted the traditional style of health and safety trainings for workers – most often a PowerPoint presentation and a lecture, or – in some rare cases – a pre-recorded movie. These training methods, while commonly practiced, are highly theoretical and unrealistic and, and thus ineffective in environments where workers’ hand-on experience can mean the difference between a serious accident or a near-miss. In hazardous or industrial manufacturing production settings where safety is paramount, custom VR training systems can offer a viable alternative for worker preparedness. VR training solutions also provide higher confidence in performing one’s duties – and ultimately, improved on-the-job satisfaction, leading to higher worker retention.
VR has proven to help employees learn faster, improve their knowledge retention and allow them to more quickly apply their learnings on the job. All this can result in highly desirable corporate outcomes, including lower training costs and learning times, a lower need for retraining, and and as a result – gains in productivity.
Ready to improve worker safety?
If all these arguments have convinced you that investing in a robust VR training system for your manufacturing or corporate environment will generate the desired return on investment, you are ready to sit down and brainstorm about what this system should offer in terms of features and scope. Designing creative, engaging and immersive VR training environments can help you increase training ROI, save costs, increase employee safety and productivity.
Contact us for a consultation, so you can learn more about the development process and the costs involved.