Mine sites are full of hazards and risks. From heavy, complex machinery to toxic gases and confined workspaces, challenges can arise at every turn. If workers aren’t familiar with the site, and if effective planning hasn’t been implemented, potentially deadly consequences could result. But there’s good news for the mining industry – virtual reality offers incredible training opportunities which are accessible, controlled, and geared towards information retention and worker confidence. We explore the function of VR within the mining field, and how it helps companies to better plan their sites and ensure workers are familiar with environments even before they set out in person.
With so many complex situations and emergencies that can arise within a mine site at any time, it’s not so easy to replicate these scenarios to deliver effective training. Crucial to employee onboarding and upskilling are site planning and familiarisation. If employees aren’t confident of a site’s layout and aren’t familiar with equipment and functions, they’re more likely to struggle with operations and with strategic responses to difficulties. They’re also more likely to make mistakes due to a lack of awareness or confidence.
A great feature of VR training is its ability to replicate real environments and situations in incredible, lifelike detail. Trainees can study the site layout and handle equipment in controlled settings that accurately mirror the real site and can even engage with simulated emergencies, such as fires, equipment breakdowns, evacuations and rescue missions, to depth their preparedness for unexpected events. Unlike training using real-life equipment and environments, VR training allows personnel to make mistakes safely. They can repeat sections of the training as needed to deepen their confidence and proficiency and to ensure they’re ready to handle the pressures of the work site.
Trainers also benefit from the use of VR. In traditional training exercises tracking data is next to impossible. Whether it’s due to unreliable WiFi, insufficient connectivity, instructor focus, or another reason entirely, it’s very difficult for trainers to assess trainee performance and development while completing the exercise. VR training and VR mining provide substantial data that trainers can use to determine an employee’s familiarity with the mine site, how they can better plan future training programs, and which employees may be ready to progress to onsite work.
Planning and familiarisation are crucial elements of mine site operations. VR training takes the best of what traditional education has to offer and takes it to the next level. Overall, it leads to better trainee outcomes, such as improved retention of information, better engagement with materials, instructions and processes, and greater confidence thanks to the opportunity for repeat training. With so many risks at play in mining, it’s crucial for employees to enter sites feeling prepared for and familiar with the layout and tasks at hand. If you’re interested in adopting VR to your existing mine site training offerings, get in touch with 3D Walkabout today. We’d love to help you explore your options and settle on a tailored virtual reality training solution that meets your needs.