Leading engineering and construction firm Bechtel has partnered with Human Condition Safety (HCS) to begin offering virtual reality safety training to its workers. The HCS training technology the company is using, called SafeScan, is touted as being similar to the “more realistic video games.”
HCS says SafeScan is ideal for training workers on risky situations without sending them into the field first. For instance, it could be used to train a worker in unloading a crane 20 stories in the air on a foggy morning, instead of having him do it “for the first time in real life.” The oil & gas industry has taken to similar technologies in recent years for training workers on proper platform safety procedures, for example, in the case of a fire.
Many say that virtual reality training, or even 360° video training, is more effective than standardized classroom training. By giving workers a sense for the feel of the situation ahead of time, they are better prepared for the real thing.
SafeScan has a second component that comes into play as trainings are completed using the system. SafeScan saves the usage data and combines it with GIS, safety history, vibration analysis, and regulatory data like OSHA compliance. With this combined data set in hand, “risk mitigation becomes fully automated by a predictive engine that pinpoints which elements might combine to create the riskiest circumstances on a job, and sends alerts to avoid injuries and save lives.”
As Chris Bunk, Human Condition Safety CTO told AEC Magazine back in May,
“Workers must be trained to think on their feet in nuanced situations, yet textbooks and classroom trainings are not adequately preparing them. The virtual environment we’ve created is so realistic that beta testers are trembling or fearful of taking the first step onto the high steel as they perform a basic operation, for example connecting I-beams 20 stories up on a construction site. Unlike real life, workers have multiple opportunities to get the procedure right.”
Bechtel will be using HCS’s SafeScan technology at its innovation center in Houston.