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How Virtual Reality Can Help in Construction Safety Training

How Virtual Reality Can Help in Construction Safety Training

If you’ve played a video game lately, you know how realistic it can be. And if you’ve ever worn a virtual reality headset—well, you think you’re right there in the midst of it all. Virtual reality safety training for construction workers has arrived—and it’s keeping workers safe. Keep in mind that one in five work-related deaths are in the construction industry, according to OSHA. If virtual reality training can reduce construction fatalities, that’s good news.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a combination of hardware and software technology that replaces the real physical environment, allowing users to interact in simulated situations. It goes well beyond gaming, but it’s a similar concept. Many construction companies are adopting VR technology and using it as a safer training environment for their workers.augmented-reality-heavy-equipment-industry

What are the benefits of virtual reality?

In a training situation, VR can be set up to simulate an actual workplace location or situation. It can not only create a realistic scenario, but it can also take into account emotions, sensations and distractions that could be common and contribute to accidents.

What are the benefits of virtual reality in construction safety training?

Construction is a dangerous business. Think about it. Workers balancing on scaffolding—sometimes in inclement weather. Heavy equipment moving earth and carrying heavy loads that could injure workers and onlookers. Cranes reaching high levels of partially constructed buildings that can miss their mark or cause a worker to fall. VR safety training can help by safely putting workers in all types of dangerous situations—virtually—and showing them where potential issues lie.

Safety training for construction workers in the past required companies to replicate buildings and the surrounding environment. They were very big and costly—and came with the same dangers to workers as in the real world. It also spelled potential danger for the trainers because they had to be in the same location as the workers.
Virtual reality changed all that by creating training programs with zero harm to workers. Here are some of the benefits:

It can safely provide riskier, yet more realistic training. VR basically pushes training to the limit. It can show building structures at normal heights in realistic situations with a 360-degree image, swing simulated loads, inject potential distractions and offer role playing. It can simulate actual hazards and show what happens if workers watch out for them (or don’t) and introduce realistic feelings of stress without the real danger.

Practice makes perfect. The old way of safety training didn’t allow for much practice because each worker had to wait his or her turn; additional practice would be too costly. In VR, a worker just straps on the headset and interacts. He can practice until he gets it right.

VR can bring randomness into training. In real life, you never know what the weather will be or what possible distraction could affect your work. Virtual reality can program all kinds of random moments and put them into the training. With traditional training, it’s too expensive to plan for all of the possible variables, so you have a tendency to limit the possibilities. Remember when you were in school and you’d ask the teacher, “Will we have to know that for the test?” It’s like that. However, the randomness of VR avoids “teaching to the test.”

It offers a safe environment for testing and evaluating. A VR program can be customized to the job site or project, constructing scenarios that workers would likely face. That makes it easier to realistically test and evaluate results.

Trainees are more focused with immersive VR training. Since VR completely replicates the physical world, users have to focus at all times. Even if they are waiting until it’s their turn for a headset, they can watch in higher precision detail on an HD screen while their co-workers are training. That actually helps them actively learn, even while they’re passively waiting.

VR helps trainers do their job. It puts them in the best position to evaluate their students because they see the same dangers from the same vantage point as opposed to an observation point that is often obscured with traditional training. Additionally, the software can collect and analyze data from each training session.

It’s more cost-effective and relevant. The program, customizable to the company and/or job site, shows unique challenges workers could face, making it more efficient. Moreover, because it’s programmed into a headset or headsets, workers can repeat the training as needed. That saves time and money.

It helps workers retain information. Traditional training may be a one-time shot. People may not pay attention as they should, so they don’t retain what they’ve learned. What good is that? VR, on the other hand, offers training that is consistent, frequent, relevant and immersive.

vr-heavy-equipment

What’s the future of virtual reality in heavy equipment training?

Virtual reality is becoming accessible to more people—especially those who are used to the concept in video gaming. In the heavy equipment industry, VR will likely offer equipment simulators so students can experience the feel and resistance of heavy equipment. In the virtual classroom, students will be able to learn from their mistakes as they have multiple opportunities to practice their skills and boost efficiency. Perhaps most importantly, they can learn safely and without the risks of damage to equipment and injury to the operator.

Would you like to become a heavy equipment operator?

Enroll in heavy equipment training programs at HEC (Heavy Equipment Colleges of America). Programs are offered in Fayetteville NC, Conyers GA, Clarksville TN, Oklahoma City OK and San Bernardino CA. In addition, training through the Army’s Career Skills Program (CSP) is offered at Ft. Irwin CA and Lakewood WA.

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Locations

CA – San Bernardino:  1955 W. 9th Street | San Bernardino, CA 92411
 
CA – Ft. Irwin:  306 Langford Lake Road | Bld # TR0403 | CA 92310
(Location is on a military base and is VETERAN ONLY – Career Skills Program (CSP)*)
 
Georgia:  581 Sigman Road, Suite 300 | Conyers, GA 30013
 
North Carolina:  1909 Bragg Blvd, Suite 94 | Fayetteville, NC 28303
 
Oklahoma:  6101 W. Reno Avenue, Suite 1000 | Oklahoma City, OK 73127
 
Washington:  4701 McChord Drive SW | Lakewood, WA 98499
(Location is on military base and is VETERAN ONLY – Career Skills Program (CSP)*and VA Education Benefits)

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CALIFORNIA LOCATION ONLY: Heavy Equipment College of America is a private institution approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Approval to operate means the institution is compliant with the minimum standards contained in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Division 7.5 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. (https://www.bppe.ca.gov/). Access all Catalogs, Student Performance Fact Sheets and Brochures here.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the government agency responsible for determining eligibility for VA education benefits and for authorizing payment for the benefits. If you have questions about the available benefits or your eligibility, please contact our admissions office at 888- 879-9492. You may also visit https://www.gibill.va.gov to learn more about the available benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Heavy Equipment Colleges of America cannot guarantee employment or career advancement or any particular earnings or salary.

OKLAHOMA LOCATION ONLY: Heavy Equipment Colleges of America has a Certificate of Approval from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The school’s programs are approved by TWC. Students must address their concerns about this school of any of its educational programs by following the grievance process outlined in the school’s catalog. Students dissatisfied with the school’s response to their complaint or who are not able to file a complaint with the school, can file a formal complaint with TWC, as well as with other relevant agencies or accreditors, if applicable. Information on filing a complaint with TWC can be found on TWC’s website at www.texasworkforce.org/careerschoolstudents.

Heavy Equipment Colleges of America endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and provides training to prepare candidates for CCO examinations.

*The Army’s Career Skills Program (CSP) prepares Soldiers for civilian employment through first-class apprenticeships, on-the-job training, job shadowing, internships and employment skills training. Soldiers are eligible to participate in an Army CSP up to 180 days prior to separation from the Army and after completion of the mandatory 5-day SFL-TAP workshop. To be considered for an open seat in a CSP you must contact the POC at the installation where you want to attend a CSP and submit your commander authorized/signed participation memo in advance of the start date.

WIOA/TAA funded training may be provided only to individuals who qualify for the program and not only if funds are available.