Forklifts are very useful machines in warehouses and other storage spaces. But driving them is dangerous. In Pennsylvania and across the county, forklift operators are no strangers to the need for workers’ compensation after forklift accidents.
Is there any way to make things safer for forklift drivers? The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) believes there is. NIOSH has offered a grant to a private company in New York to develop a training program that uses virtual reality simulations to help teach the necessary skills to forklift operators.
NIOSH is hopeful that the program will help prevent forklift accidents – and the injuries and deaths that go with them.
The virtual reality program that is under development is called 3d Forklift Trainer. It is similar in many respects to a video game. Operators are able to practice numerous safety maneuvers in a safe environment. They can become familiar with the forklift apparatus, including the steering wheel, pedals and the joystick. But they do it inside virtual reality spaces that simulate the appearance of warehouses and other facilities where forklifts are used.
Video simulations are growing in popularity in many different fields. It used to be that they were limited to laboratories affiliated with universities or the military. Increasingly, however, they are being used in other training settings to better engage the participants.
The reason that video game-type approaches better engage participants than traditional methods is simple. The games are active, not passive, ways of learning. In short, interactive training may make for better training of forklift operators and others.
Source: “Virtual Reality Training Program Created for Forklift Operators,” Occupational Health & Safety, 3-11-13
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