Hire firm Nationwide to use VR for work platform training

Virtual reality (VR) is to be used by hire firm Nationwide Platforms to support its powered access training.

The MEWP (mobile elevating work platform) hirer will become the first in the UK to use the technology.

Nationwide Platforms has invested in VR simulators to assist with training boom lift and scissor lift operators. The courses have been developed with Canadian VR specialist Serious Labs and endorsed by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

Peter Douglas, UK operations director of Nationwide Platforms, said: “Our new training will combine VR with a true-to-life look and feel of operating an access platform. Designed to complement our range of IPAF training, we are confident this blended learning approach will ultimately lead to more rounded and competent operators.”

Each VR unit comprises a replica access platform basket and control panel plus full-motion-tracking VR headset and actuator motion base that mimic the sensation of operating a boom and scissor lift.

With a footprint of 1.2m x 2.4m, the units will be located at Nationwide Platforms’ training centres throughout the UK and can be transferred to customer or project sites if required.

The simulators cover a range of applications – including different ground conditions, restricted access, overhead hazards and loading and unloading – with performance and learning metrics which allow trainers to provide live feedback on driving skills, behaviour and safe operation.

Trainers are also able to identify areas where further training or refamiliarisation may be required.

Nationwide Platforms has developed four courses to cater for varying levels of experience: Introduction to Powered Access; Operator Mid-term Assessment; Operator Skills Assessment; and Risk Awareness Workshop.

Douglas added: “We feel this technology bridges the gap between theory and practical training. The VR simulators will allow operators to work through complex scenarios replicating real-life training hazards without the risk.

“The ability for operators to make mistakes in a safe and controlled environment not only prepares them for how to react to danger, but also ultimately provides them with valuable experience that we feel will reduce the number of accidents on site as well as damage to buildings and equipment.”

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