Virtual Reality for Safety Training

June 4, 2018

Mine workers in the US sit through millions of hours of safety training each year but the training is often ineffective. Companies continue to increase focus on defining competencies for task training that will improve safety outcomes.  The innovative methods we are currently developing attempt to translate training into improved safety and health competencies that will decrease the rate of fatalities, injuries, and illness in western mines.

With material created at the University of Arizona and deployed and tested through our partners at the University of Texas at Austin and McCraren Compliance, we created “Serious Games,” a virtual reality gaming software used for emergency self-escape training and workplace inspections. Serious Games allows students to interact with a virtual environment, perform workplace exams, and analyze hazardous situations while remaining in the safety of the classroom.  With this technology, instructors can provide feedback in real-time, allowing students to make potentially fatal mistakes without the risk of injury that could occur on the job site.

Projects in progress include:

MSHA Active Training Methods:  With innovative active learning methods, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s training manual transforms into a hands-on learning guidebook. With activities for each module that reinforces previous learning, trainers can use a competency model to measure a student’s growth.

Hazard Recognition Card Game: A group-based, active learning game, the Hazard Recognition Card Game allows trainees to consider how to properly control hazards encountered. Here, each player is assigned to a work area and encounters a series of hazards that must be controlled or mitigated using the hierarchy of controls

With Serious Games and active learning methods, our novel techniques provide a window into the future of mining safety training. With feedback provide by our academic and industry partners, we continue to tailor and validate our material to provide the best instruction possible.