But, luckily, sometimes you do get another chance – a chance to practise a difficult skill in a game before having to do it in real life. This has long been possible in selected contexts like pilot training with flight simulators, but now it can also be done in the health and safety area. Ramboll has developed a new, interactive 3D game – a virtual reality (VR) simulator of sorts – that can help construction workers anticipate and avoid accidents on-site.
The working environment is becoming increasingly important, due in great part to its inclusion in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, goal number 8.8 states: “Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments of all workers”. Legislation and other working environment rules are also being tightened.
Accidents more than halved
The working environment has been a top-priority focus during the construction of the so-called Super Hospital in Gødstrup, Denmark – one of the country’s biggest construction projects. As Project Manager Michael Hyllegaard from DNV-Gødstrup puts it:
”As a hospital, we focus on not generating customers for our own business. From the outset our ambition has been to have zero serious accidents on-site. Therefore, we tried an alternative to the traditional safety training.”
In this case, the “alternative” was Ramboll’s 3D game – the first time VR has been used this way in Denmark. To gain access to the site, employees had to perform a range of safety tasks and procedures in the game.
And it worked. In the first five years of the construction process – from 2012-2017 – only 12 workplace accidents occurred. The most serious was a broken foot.
This is less than half the average for Danish constructions sites of this kind, and the success rate has been similar on other Danish construction projects where the 3D game has been used.
See it before it happens
Special consultant and game developer at Ramboll Åge Staghøj explains that the 3D game guides employees through a number of safety exercises on the virtual site.