While training simulators are nothing new, advances in technology are making them more versatile, realistic and collaborative than ever. Whether it's through online collaboration with instructors and other trainees half a world away, or through experiencing a realistic, immersive environment through a headset, simulators are a safe, cost-efficient way to level up employees' skills for the jobsite. Here are some of the latest introductions in VR training.
How radar can help prevent fatalities on the road and at your jobsite
The construction industry is a huge business, generating millions for the economy every year and ensuring that infrastructure and development in key areas such as health, education and transport are maintained.
With the rapidly growing demand for residential and commercial building comes an increase in the number of heavy construction vehicles using road networks. This includes driving in busy cities and built-up areas where they are more likely to come into contact with vulnerable road users. As a result, this has put pressure on the industry to ensure other road users, in particular cyclists and pedestrians, remain safe and that fatal collisions are prevented.
The heavy vehicles and equipment used by the construction industry, such as dumpers, cement mixers and tippers, pose a danger if they are not managed safely. Blind spots tend to be much larger on these vehicles and include not only the rear and nearside but also the front, especially with elevated driver positions.
According to research carried out by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators in 2017, of the 1,841 deaths on Canada's roads, 15.4 percent were pedestrians, 10.4 percent motorcyclists and 2 percent cyclists. The data also revealed that the number of collisions recorded increased during the winter months, when icy roads and blizzards make driving conditions more difficult.
Blind spots on vehicles, along with poor visibility due to bad weather conditions, are a major contributing factor to collisions and are often the main reasons why pedestrians and cyclists are killed or injured.
Safety for larger vehicles has dramatically improved in recent years, with many operators opting to invest in stringent safety procedures, including fitting vehicle safety systems to eliminate vehicle blind spots.
For drivers in the construction industry, detecting objects and people in blind spots is crucial to safety not only on the road, but also on worksites where ground workers are at risk from moving vehicles and machinery.
Radar obstacle detection technology can detect stationary and moving objects even in the harshest of environments. It gives the driver an audible and visible warning when objects are within a certain distance. One such system, which is unique to Brigade Electronics, is its Backsense Radar. It uses Frequency Modulated Continuous Waves (FMCW) technology, transmitting a continuously varying radar frequency signal with time stamps unique to each instance of the wave. The time of the returning wave is referenced to the stamp without the radar needing to pause transmission. This provides more accurate detection than alternative radar products that use pulsed radar technology, which instead transmit a burst of radar and then listen for the returning wave.
Distances on Backsense can also can be programmed to suit different-sized vehicles and applications, from 6.5 feet to 33 feet in width and 10 feet to 98 feet in length. Bespoke detection areas can also be set to calibrate-out fixed objects or bodywork.
The data provided by radar obstacle detection can be combined with an on-screen display and fed back to the driver via an in-cab monitor. Ideal for vehicles maneuvering at low speed, the on-screen display warns the driver of obstacles in the danger zone by overlaying five-stage audible and visual radar data onto a camera image on the monitor. This informs the driver of the distance between the vehicle and obstacles.
Due to the number of complex blind spots on large vehicles, a single radar cannot always provide the levels of detection required. This is why Brigade introduced its network radar system, which enables up to eight sensors to be connected and linked to a single in-cab display. This limits distractions for the driver and further enhances safety by ensuring complex blind spots are eliminated.
Radar obstacle detection is suitable for both on and off-road applications, so even on specialist vehicles it offers first-class protection, preventing collisions and saving lives.
Of course, technology is just one step toward preventing deaths and solving safety issues. Alongside this, operators need to ensure that there are robust procedures in place and that they are committed to implementing and executing these to ensure they are doing as much as possible to keep everyone safe.
More from Safety
On today's construction jobsites, the way in which contractors and their employees approach safety has changed dramatically. Where safety was often an afterthought in the past, today there is a strong focus on making it a part of workplace culture – an overlying piece of every day's work that ensures everyone goes home safely at the end of every shift.
Three companies were acknowledged for their commitment to safe digging practices at the Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA)'s Annual General Meeting recently. The awards are given to companies that have a high number of tickets into BC 1 Call and have not damaged any FortisBC gas lines within the last three years. The three recipients this year are Rissling Services Ltd., E-Tech Utilities and Brigade Technologies Inc. (formally known as Ashgarr Ventures Inc.) - all construction companies that have worked on projects in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
Road construction is a hazardous occupation and roadsides are ranked as one of the most dangerous places to work. While roads are now safer than ever before, incidents involving road workers have risen.
Trench and excavation work represent some of the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry. Maintaining up-to-date training on safety regulations and equipment solutions is essential to not only keeping employees safe but also leads to improved project productivity. United Rentals, is providing dedicated resources to the construction industry that offer quality trench safety instruction, together with assistance outside the classroom including jobsite consultation, engineered designs and safety equipment.
CM Labs has announced that they are developing the second in a series of groundbreaking simulators showcasing the intuitive Crane Control System (CCS) from Manitowoc Cranes, leading global manufacturer of cranes and lifting solutions.
The RCMP Lower Mainland District Integrated Road Safety Unit is partnering with the Work Zone Safety Alliance and WorkSafeBC to raise awareness about the risks workers face while working on or alongside the road.
Doka has announced the Smart Edge protection system, a new engineering solution designed to be installed at perimeter edges, internal openings, elevator shafts and stairs on high-rise construction sites.
JLG Industries, Inc. is supporting May 6–10, through internal stand-down events and external education with customers and end users. In coordination with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), JLG says that it strongly supports these national efforts, which focus attention on preventing falls, the leading cause of workplace injuries.
In support of OSHA's upcoming National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction week, May 6–10, Genie is sharing new resources that raise awareness about the safe use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) in the aerial access industry. The new Genie "Safe Use Plan Guidance" whitepaper provides tips for creating a safe use plan when operating MEWPs. The Genie "Big Changes" music video highlights important information on MEWP operator and occupant training requirements.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, highlighting the urgent need for solutions to the leading cause of vehicle injuries and fatalities. A new company is tackling this technology epidemic head on.
Serious Labs, the Edmonton-based developer of virtual reality (VR) training solutions, is localizing its Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator into German. The company is exhibiting the simulator this week at bauma on stand 7 C2:226 in the Canadian Pavilion.
Serious Labs, an Edmonton-based pioneer of virtual reality (VR) training solutions, will provide a sneak peek at bauma in Munich, Germany April 8–14 allowing attendees to experience firsthand its latest product – Serious:XR. Serious Labs will offer demos of its new XR platform, as well as its Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) VR training simulator and Overhead Crane VR training simulator on stand 7 C2:226 in bauma's Canadian Pavilion.
CM Labs Simulations, developer of Vortex training simulators, today announced the release of a unique collaborative learning solution that engages two trainees simultaneously.
The new ANSI A92.22 standards for Safe Use and ANSI A92.24 standards for Training carry with them some major changes and substantial additional requirements for training, with new requirements for supervisor training. To help jobsites be in compliance when the new standards go into effect in December 2019, the Genie Lift Pro Online MEWP Supervisor Training Course is now available. This course was developed specifically for supervisors and meets all of the requirements set forth in the new standards.
Winnipeg Richardson International Airport recently introduced 'Otto', the first autonomous airport snowplow in North America. The plow is the result of a partnership with Manitoba companies Northstar Robotics Inc. and Airport Technologies Inc. (ATI).
Crane Industry Services, LLC (CIS), Carrollton, Georgia, now offers training for employers who need to qualify individuals to do crane operator evaluations, according to new OSHA requirements. In addition, CIS staff can provide third-party crane operator evaluations to assist companies who need extra help getting these done.
Caterpillar Safety Services is developing Cat Safety VR, a new virtual reality (VR) safety training module. Customized for paving applications, the new VR safety training solution immerses the trainee into a virtual four-lane rural highway construction site, so the employee learns to interact with coworkers and identify hazards in a safe and controlled environment.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) will host Forum 2019: The Changing World of Work, March 5-6, 2019, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CCOHS' Forum is a unique event that will bring together leaders, change-makers, and subject experts representing government, labour, and workplaces to share their knowledge and experience around current and emerging health and safety issues. The event will focus on the workplace of today and tomorrow, in which accommodation, diversity, and inclusivity are not just nice-to-haves, but a must for any organization.
Recipients of the third annual FortisBC Excavation Safety Awards are being recognized at the Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA) annual symposium in Whistler. The Excavation Safety Awards are awarded to companies that have a record number of tickets into BC One Call without any line damages within the last three years. This year, the recipients are RS Line Construction Inc. and Rokstad Power - two construction businesses based in the Lower Mainland.
WorkSafeBC is launching an awareness campaign to educate employers and workers about impairment in the workplace, as the legalization of recreational cannabis takes effect October 17.
CM Labs says that they have introduced the first simulation training solution that promotes acquisition of precision excavation and grading techniques. The Dozer Simulator Training Pack allows trainees to experience the unique feel of pushing soil and aggregate material from the seat of a virtual dozer.
Poor weather increases risk and affects the safety of site workers. Whether maneuvering mining equipment, or using a construction machine on site, one thing's for certain – safety devices have to be effective. Working at night and battling poor visibility caused by rain, snow and ice are everyday hazards for tens of thousands of mining and construction drivers across Canada.
Exposure to electricity is a major cause of death among construction workers in Canada. On average, 143 construction workers are killed each year and thousands are severely injured due to electrocutions.
Inspired to give employees the skills to move ahead and confront the demand for an available workforce, contractor Allan Myers is launching a new three-year mission called Stepping Up. A fundamental tool of Stepping Up is the Myers Mobile Training Center, the result of a collaborative effort between Allan Myers, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) and Volvo Financial Services (VFS).
Technology is helping contractors gather data at the jobsite to make more informed decisions, improving productivity, safety and the bottom line.
Snorkel offers new trigger guard solution as standard on current equipment and for retrofit on legacy machines
Snorkel has developed a trigger guard solution that will be fitted as standard to all new Snorkel lifts that have an enable switch operated joystick.
Volvo Construction Equipment is working on a research project to improve work site safety in collaboration with its customer Colas – a world leader in the construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure.
The new Signaller Training Station is a simulation-based solution that CM Labs says is the only one of its kind in the industry.
With the so much changing in the updated CSA B354 standards, it is important to call attention to one key item that every user (identified in the standards as employers) needs to be aware of: risk assessment.
Known for being rapidly deployable, HoistCam remote camera monitoring systems from Netarus LLC now make self-installation and troubleshooting even easier. The company recently launched a series of videos to complement its online support system and knowledge base of frequently asked questions.
One of the most common causes of injury and death for site workers is being struck by plant machinery. In fact, site workers are two times more likely to be injured at work compared to those in other occupations. Research carried out in Europe has also found that the construction, transportation, manufacturing and agricultural trades recorded more workplace deaths in 2017 than all other industries combined.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), in partnership with the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, is helping workplaces in Canada take action on psychological health and safety with the online toolkit, Guarding Minds at Work.
Genie Lift Guard Contact Alarm prototype for slab scissor and vertical mast lifts to be shown during OSHA National Safety Stand-Down week
Genie protective solutions continue to evolve. Highlighting a new generation in innovative solutions, a prototype of the Genie Lift Guard Contact Alarm system for Genie GS slab scissor lifts and Genie GR, GRC and QS vertical masts will be shown to customers in North America during the OSHA National Safety-Stand Down, May 7–11. This system is an electronic secondary guarding solution designed to activate when an obstruction makes contact with an activation whisker mounted to the lift's platform guardrails, alerting operators, occupants and ground personnel to a potential hazard. The prototype will also be shown to Genie customers during Vertikal Days in Leicestershire, United Kingdom, May 16–17, and at HIRE18 in Brisbane, Australia, May 30–31.
JLG Industries will participate in a number of events for National Safety Stand-Down this week.