Many people underestimate the importance of regular safety training in the workplace. They find it boring or not worth their attention. Because of that, a large portion of the staff is often not familiar with the current safety instructions and procedures. And that’s concerning. The truth is proper safety training can save significant amounts of money and, most importantly, lives.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,764 fatal injuries occurred in the workplace in 2020. This means more than 13 deaths a day in the US alone! And remember, this statistic doesn’t include severe accidents that lead to gruesome outcomes, despite not being directly lethal.
Another report by the BLS states that there were 2.7 million nonfatal work injuries and illnesses. And while safety training may not sound as important for office employees as for blue-collar workers, it shouldn’t be neglected regardless of the vacancy.
Why is safety training so important?
- Good safety training improves morale and overall job satisfaction.
- A secure work environment is great for the image and reputation of your company.
- A safe workplace means also avoiding unneeded costs. The smaller the number of accidents and injuries, the less money a business loses on compensations and other liabilities.
- Fewer accidents also reduce the time employees are on sick leave because of different injuries.
- Finally and most importantly, safety training saves lives.
Challenges of creating a professional training program
Okay, we’ve established that safety training is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. But how do we create an efficient and professional training program? If you choose traditional methods, you might end up facing the following challenges:
- assigning someone to conduct the training, this generates costs or downtimes
- keeping employees engaged during the training process
- trainees forgetting most of the things they’ve learned
- the inability to recreate emergencies in a safe way
- evaluation of the skills of your employees
This is where VR safety training truly shines. It reportedly decreases the likelihood of injuries in the workplace by 43% (source: FinancesOnline). Let’s look at 5 significant fields in which it surpasses regular types of training.
#1 Efficiency. VR safety training is more cost-effective than traditional methods
A report by Training Magazine states that the average company spent around 1,111 USD on training per employee in 2020. So if a company had 200 employees, the total cost of their training amounted to 222,200 USD! And remember, this value raises with every new person hired.
To cut costs some companies might make training shorter or train bigger groups at a given time. But that means less knowledge retention and worse overall results. When it comes to VR safety training, you only pay once and can then use it an unlimited amount of times. At any time and for as many workers as you need. A great example of a simple yet extremely efficient VR safety training is this fire extinguisher drill we developed for our client.
#2 Safety. Virtual reality provides a realistic and safe environment
VR safety training can be extremely realistic and therefore prepare for real-life situations a lot better than images and words. To see what we mean by “extremely realistic”, have a look at this VR safety training application. It’s a training tool for flight deck officers that offers a safe environment for testing emergency procedures and working in harsh conditions.
It would be exceptionally difficult and dangerous to arrange a training situation during an actual storm onboard a ship. And the costs would be disproportionately high. With immersive technologies like VR, you can create a secure setting for any type of training.
#3 Immersiveness. Safety training in VR is more engaging than lectures and presentations
Let’s make no bones about it, safety training can be pretty boring. It’s hard to keep focused listening to a lecture for multiple hours and even harder to actually remember what we learned. Our brains are not especially good at remembering plain speech or text long-term.
VR safety training engages people on a whole new level. First of all, you sink into the virtual world. It’s all you can see and hear, so there are none of the usual distractions. Secondly, you not only see and hear about whatever you need to learn. You get the chance to try the things you learn about, walk around and interact with items. This means you activate more brain areas making the experience more meaningful and memorable.
Finally, because virtual reality is still a relatively new technology, our natural curiosity makes it even more interesting. So instead of a boring lecture, many people feel they’re in a fun video game while actually learning more. The VR mine safety training we developed for a client is a textbook example of how this can be done. See for yourself.
#4 Effectiveness. Higher knowledge retention and better skills evaluation
Learning retention is the process of transferring information from our short-term to our long-term memory. It’s an essential factor in judging the effectiveness of a given form of training. As you can see in the graph below, virtual reality is in second place with an impressive 75% knowledge retention. It comes second only to learning by teaching others. If you’re looking for a more detailed description of how effective VR is, check out this article by FrontCore.
Another important factor in terms of judging the effectiveness of training is the ability to evaluate skills. When conducting safety training in VR, it’s easy to gather data and statistics. The application is built according to precisely defined KPIs that you specify. It can have an AI data analysis module or a quiz at the end. You can even record biometric data like eye and hand movements or body temperature!
#5 Versatility. VR safety training allows for infinite repetitions in different conditions
Traditional training is restrained by timeframes. Only a fixed amount of hours can be dedicated to learning, practicing and testing the newly acquired skills. Sometimes a group of employees may not be able to attend a training session, in which case the company has to repeat it at another time. And that generates unnecessary costs. VR safety training allows for endless repetition – you only pay a fixed fee once.
What’s more, your training platform or app can allow for customization of the scenario. This means anything from small cosmetic changes to a set of completely different locations and scripts. Finally, VR safety training can easily be made multilingual. This is a blessing for some of your workers who might not be very fluent in English.
What to know before developing a VR safety training project
It’s clear that VR safety training is in many ways better than traditional methods. Virtual reality solutions are simply more effective and cost-efficient. And yes, creating a VR safety training project will cost more than a single training session. But you’re guaranteed a positive ROI in close to no time. If you want to spend less money in the beginning or test the solution before making heavy investments, we recommend ordering an MVP version.
If you’re not sure how your organization could use VR safety training solutions or have other questions and concerns, we’d be happy to help. To read more about the benefits and possibilities, see other VR safety training projects, or schedule a call with our consultants click this link.