Working at heights is a high-risk construction activity that is globally known to be a major cause of site injuries and fatalities.
Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are considered the safest method of working at heights, but their safety, too, depends on well-trained and competent operators.
However, site training with highly valuable equipment can be expensive, and risk both equipment and operators.
To eliminate these risks, UAE-based powered access equipment rental company, Rapid Access, has devised a virtual reality (VR) system to help the rental industry train its operators in the use of heavy equipment, such as cranes and aerial boom lifts.
The VR training simulator, the likes of which were previously only available in the aviation industry, is developed by UK-based experiential learning systems company, Serious Labs.
The simulator provides immersive VR simulations comprising scissor lift and boom lift modules, allowing operators to explore realistic job site environments and safely test the limits of equipment in dangerous situations – all from a safe space.
The scissor lift modules, co-developed by UK-based Nationwide Platforms, consist of 18 training scenarios on slab and diesel rough terrain scissor lifts, and 16 articulating boom lift scenarios.
The simulations progressively become more challenging, isolating tasks around driving, lifting, platform positioning, and operating. Each module takes the novice approximately 75 minutes to complete, and a seasoned professional about 45 minutes. Metrics provide feedback about the operator’s performance, showing weakness and strengths.
The simulator kit includes an Oculus VR headset, safety cage, scissor lift controls and Oculus touch controls which automatically calibrate the headset for each operator. The hardware is offered as an upfront purchase, and the software is sold through a subscription model.
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