Construction safety assessment training with immersive virtual reality

Construction workers’ ability to identify and assess risks is acquired through training and experience and is among the key factors that determine their behaviour and thus their safety. Yet researchers have questioned the effectiveness of conventional safety training. This research tested the hypotheses that safety training in a virtual reality (VR) construction site would be feasible and more effective, in terms of workers’ learning and recall in identifying and assessing construction safety risks, than would equivalent training using conventional methods. Sixty-six subjects were provided training in construction safety and their safety knowledge was tested prior to the training, immediately afterward, and one month later.

Half of the subjects received traditional classroom training with visual aids; the other half were trained using a 3D immersive VR power-wall. Significant advantage was found for VR training for stone cladding work and for cast-in-situ concrete work, but not for general site safety. VR training was more effective in terms of maintaining trainees’ attention and concentration. Training with VR was more effective over time, especially in the context of cast-in-situ concrete works. Given the need for improved training and the advantages of training using VR, incorporation of VR in construction safety training is strongly recommended.

Developing a virtual reality safety-training system for construction workers”

Safety training is an important and time-consuming task for many construction companies. Virtual Reality (VR) simulation can be used in safety training to help users understand and learn safety rules, standards, and regulations. VR can also be used to evaluate the degree to which construction workers acquired skills after taking safety classes.

This project focuses on creating a Virtual Reality Safety-Training System and assessing the perceptual and behavior impacts of the VR environments on a trainee. Perceptual and ecological psychology are studied in creating VR worlds in order to make the system effective. The authors’ analysis determined that a streamlined, scenario-developing pipeline is needed to support flexible, computer-generated variations of the VR world. This reconfigurable and reusable system creates 3-dimensional virtual images and produces memorable experiences for trainees. Modules of various virtual objects and virtual environmental factors such as temperature, air composition, and visibility are also studied and simulated in the proposed system. The authors also plan to assess the areas of safety training that can benefit most from VR use.

INTRODUCTION

Due to the inherent hazardous nature of construction, safety management is a must for the construction industry. The many methods and types of operations needed by construction companies to meet and complete tasks result in confusion about safe methods to accomplish work activities (Mincks and Johnston 2004). For example, many construction corporations use safety regulations, safety manuals, and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to comply with federally required safety training. MSDS on all materials that will be used on the site during the construction process should be developed and maintained on the project. However, MSDS usually come from different companies, and the complicated writing style, organization, tiny print, and few illustrations often leave workers bored, unmotivated, and confused.

Due to the hazardous nature of construction work, Xie et al (2006) discuss the development of a virtual reality safety training system for construction workers and suggest that as well as utilising traditional and novel training methods, it is important to evaluate the perceptual and behavioural impacts of virtual reality environments on the trainee. By walking through a virtual construction environment and experiencing different scenarios, a trainee can, according to Xie et al (2006), understand and memorise safety rules, standards and regulations in a totally different way.