Safer sites with effective training
Employees in the construction industry often work with specialised equipment in dangerous environments that require very strict safety procedures. Micro-learning and virtual reality help workers comply with these safety regulations
From heavy machinery and power tools to working at heights, construction workers can easily be injured when on site. Therefore, it is important to implement and demand strict compliance with safety procedures. The latter can be particularly difficult as information learned during training is often forgotten.
Laura Dall, senior learning and performance advisor at Ceed Learning, notes that up to 90 percent of learning material studied in a traditional classroom setting is forgotten after a month. It is, thus, essential to continuously refresh and reiterate important safety information – especially with regard to working at heights where a small mistake can have dire consequences.
Safety officers can benefit from introducing micro-learning. The technique condenses important information into a three to five-minute snippet, which is often presented in a fun or game-like format. It serves a similar purpose to that of a YouTube video that shares information on how to complete a single task, for example, how to boil an egg.
The information should be easily accessible at the point of need to ensure the employee can quickly brush up before beginning work. For example, consider placing a short video near the entry point for working at height that discusses the important checks that need to be performed, or a game that monitors whether all the correct steps are being followed.
Virtual reality (VR) could also prove a valuable tool in training. The Human Factors Research Group, at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, developed an immersive VR system to test and train employees in emergency evacuation procedures. The findings were compared to the results from safety training presented in a traditional PowerPoint training session.
Although the PowerPoint group learned more in their session, they had forgotten a significant amount of this information only a week later. The VR group, on the other hand, retained the information they learned better over a longer period, were more engaged, had a better attitude toward safety and were more willing to undertake training in the future.
For employees to have confidence in the safety procedures, clear policies and plans need to be in place. Safety officers can also benefit from specific training courses. NOSA, for example, offers a fall-protection plan development course. On completion, the officer would be able to identify hazards, assess the correct equipment required and manage the safety of employees working at heights.