EM’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site is harnessing the power of virtual reality to help prevent slips, trips, and falls.
Savannah River Remediation (SRR) is implementing a virtual reality program to help new employees get a feel for walking in unfamiliar and unusual environments where tripping hazards can be common. In virtual reality, users wear a headpiece with goggles, foot and belt sensors, and hold hand controllers while “walking” through the simulations.
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common causes of injuries on our site and in our industry, said Patricia Allen, SRR Director for Environmental, Safety, and Health.
“Virtually all falling incidents occur while walking, which is something we all do no matter our job title,” Allen said. “At Savannah River Remediation, we have a mantra that ‘Walking is Working,’ and this virtual reality training is supporting that truth.”
Developed by an AECOM (SRR’s parent company) visualization and immersive technology team from Minnesota, the virtual reality software uses two iterations of simulated areas at SRS: a tank top in F Tank Farm and a parking lot in an administrative area. Players walk through each scenario avoiding tripping and other safety hazards (piping across the ground, low-hanging infrastructure, etc…). Players also identify hazardous objects in their path and grab them to remove them out from their path.
“Players earn points along the way for eliminating hazards, which adds a fun video-game element to the training,” Allen said. “But most importantly, employees are learning how to traverse our hazardous working environments before even stepping foot in our real facilities.”
The virtual reality program is expected to be incorporated into new SRR hire training at the end of June. If successful, the program will be expanded to other areas, such as crane control operations training.