There’s a lot of new technology being touted as the best in employee safety training. But none really stands out as profoundly as virtual reality. It’s something many of us have only seen before in sci-fi movies or television. We live in an age where those fictions are now reality. It’s kind of shocking and downright awesome. Even though many people are ready to tackle these new methods of training, there is still some hesitation on adopting technology, especially VR technology for safety training. Here are 3 reasons you should definitely try VR.
1. Experiential Training is Superior to Traditional Learning.
Traditional learning is the most common form of education . Books, manuals, videos, slides, presentations; the list goes on and on. We have all experienced this form of safety training, and most of us would agree that it is boring and monotonous. It’s hard to stay focused in these learning environments especially if using paper manuals or giving out writing utensils. The chances your employees are paying attention at that point decreases. The human attention span has been debated but rests anywhere between 5-20 minutes (source).
This is troubling for a few reasons. If you think about your safety training, is it longer than 20 minutes? Probably, if you’re using traditional learning. So, you’re losing their attention pretty early into their training. This is very dangerous. The materials they are missing are of vital importance to the safety of themselves and others. This is why experiential based training has emerged as the best style for adult learning. Because that is the key point, your employees are adults with fully matured brains, not children.
VR offers this experiential training by putting your employee in the hazardous situations without actually putting them in harm’s way. They will get the hands on training they need to deal with those hazardous training, and it forces them to pay attention. Besides those benefits, VR safety training increases employee engagement and refines their motor skills (source). To be clear, we’re not suggesting doing away with any form of traditional learning, it is important to find the right balance of learning methods for your employees.
2. VR Safety Technology Saves Time and Money
Have remote workers? VR is a great solution to the hassle of training them. Workers leaving job sites for extended periods of time to report for tradition learning is a huge loss in both in time and profits. Employees can stay on site to complete their safety training with VR headsets. Many of these headsets can be set up to contain scenarios that your employees will be dealing with. This makes it easier to provide the most beneficial safety information to those employees. There are lessons for forklift hazards, chemical hazards, fire hazards, and many more extremely dangerous situations they may deal with remotely.
If you’re doing weekly training, VR will save the time and costs lost by transporting employees for training or taking them off the job prolonging the project. It also eliminates the need for expensive training materials and training costs. In studies done on VR safety training, there was a 12% reduction in costs by using VR technology for safety training (source). The cost benefits of VR are found mostly in two areas: diminishing trends in accidents and injuries and a reduction in liability insurances with risk reduction.
3. Increases Employee Safety
The best way to train employees is with hands-on training. But, when dealing with health and safety training, that is nearly impossible. Or it used to be, before VR technology started being used for training purposes. It is now 100% plausible to simulate a forklift hazard for your employee without them actually being injured. They will see first hand how the hazards happen, how they unfold and the potential outcomes that may happen. These kinds of training experiences are vital for employees who deal with very serious hazards everyday.
Human error is a primary cause of accidents in the workplace (source).This is because traditional learning doesn’t allow the employee to apply the information and safety procedures in real life situations. It is one thing to learn what to do to when hazards occur, but when the time comes, will the employee remember steps that they read or watched on a video? Studies suggest, no they will not (source). But, putting them into a 3D simulated hazard which they feel they must stop in order prevent injury or worse, they will surely remember if that situation would ever actually occur.
There are seemingly dozens of benefits to using VR technology for safety training, but the most important is how it increases employee safety. If you’re having some hesitations about VR technology, we hope this blog has helped you overcome them. If not, read our blog about introducing new technology into the workplace. Remember, the tides are changing quickly in the world of safety technology, it is wise that companies being researching what is best for their employees now to ensure they are providing the best techniques for employee safety training.