App Brings Virtual Reality to Fall Protection

July 13, 2018
The American Society of Safety Professionals making it safer to learn best practices through a virtual reality application of fall protection training.

The American Society of Safety Professionals is making it safer to learn best practices through a virtual reality application of fall protection training. The new app allows workers to train in settings that mirror actual environments without the dangers that come with high-risk tasks.

Preventing injuries and fatalities while working above ground is the main objective of the app, which focuses on hazard identification and building a fall protection system. The app also provides an immersive five-minute experience in which users wear a headset and enter a virtual environment to learn how to operate safely when performing jobs at height. Users are made to navigate the roof of a two-story building and identify common fall hazards.

“Virtual reality is an innovative tool that enables a worker to be trained and evaluated without ever putting that employee in a precarious position,” said Keisha Raines, manager online learning at ASSP. “Studies have shown that the closer you can replicate reality in your training environment, the more training experience will stick.”

Since falls accounted for 30 percent of construction deaths in 2016, users are trained to identify hazards such as a skylight or rooftop fan detached from its base. They choose between four anchor points, three harnesses, and three lanyards, and are instructed to build a fall protection system for a coworker.

After building the fall protection system, users then see it in action, learning about the anchorage strength, equipment limitations, and fall clearance. After the session is complete, users are assessed based on performance.

“The app demonstrates that fall protection is a system that needs to be designed rather than just a piece of equipment that will keep you safe,” Kramer said. “It impresses upon the user the seriousness of these life and death decisions and allows them to fail safely.”

Source: American Society of Safety Professionals

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