Working at Height VR Training


“Tom, hello, Tom… are you there!? I think I’ve gone into labour… Tom! I need you here!”

The dramatic ending to the first scene is thankfully not real, but it certainly feels it when you’ve spent a few minutes walking and working in the shoes of a painter named Tom. This is the first module in a four-part series designed to raise awareness of and educate employees on the dangers of working at height whilst on scaffolding.

Designed and built by The Immersive Learning Studio, the VR Working at Height app is being developed for the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) in partnership with Altrad, who are a world leader in the provision of industrial services.

The number of companies that are embarking on the journey of including Virtual Reality as a tool in their training is growing every day, and it’s not hard to see why. The benefits it provides and the level of immersion and information retention it can bring are second to none.

VR is proving to be especially beneficial in training where it can be expensive and/or dangerous to send multiple applicants on physical training coursing that involve practical lessons. The ability to control the environment and be able to accurately reproduce a scenario over and over again saves time and money, and removes the danger without removing the impact.

This module has the user playing the part of Tom, who is a new painter on the job and not fully comfortable with working at heights. However, he doesn’t want to appear ‘stupid’ in front of his peers and wants to make a good first impression, so he cuts corners and doesn’t ask for help when completing the job. The module culminates when Tom has an unfortunate accident at height because he didn’t pay attention and follow the safety training.

This module is filmed in 360° 3D stereoscopic VR footage, so the viewer has a real sense of being at height. This fully immerses them in Tom’s world, provides a deeper insight into why the training and safety measures are important, and how they not only affect you, but your family and everybody around you.

There are a total of 4 modules in the application, designed to be played sequentially to gradually increase the user’s understanding and knowledge of working at height with scaffolding components and in construction. Each module provides enough information and learning to set the user up for the next module.

• Module 1 introduces the user to at-height safety and raises awareness of the importance of being safe when working at height
• Module 2 starts with the user selecting the appropriate PPE required to start work and then leads into the user demonstrating that they are able to identify the main scaffolding components to be used.
• Module 3 tasks the user with erecting a scaffolding structure using the components they are now familiar with. They must use them in their correct locations and orientations to pass this module.
• Module 4 wraps everything up with the user having to study a pre-erected scaffold structure and look for faults that could cause safety hazards.

With all of the information contained in each of the 4 modules, the user will leave the VR experience having a much deeper understanding of the components required to build a scaffold structure and their importance. They will also be able to recognise unsafe working conditions and any faults on a structure that are potentially likely to put them and others at risk.

Safety training resonates with the recipients when there is a deeper understanding of why it is important, and that it isn’t there to make their lives more difficult, or as a box-ticking exercise. It is there to keep them, their peers, their family, and everybody around them safe.