A NEW VIRTUAL REALITY training simulator has been developed as the next step to providing mobile elevated working platforms ‘training in a box’.
Designed by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) in collaboration with Serious Labs, the simulator has been trialled by IPAF member, Plantfinder, the powered access equipment rental specialist and Scottish division of A-Plant at their Kilmarnock depot, with some of their partners.
IPAF has developed the platform in response to increasing demand from contractors for a recognised qualification to demonstrate advanced operator proficiency and experience in using different types of MEWPs in a variety of challenging environments and scenarios.
Tony Warren, Training Manager for Plantfinder said, “The VR simulator is revolutionary. It’s a great training aid for both novices and experienced operatives. Its intuitive and comfortable to use, and will make a real difference to training in the future.
“Simulator training is not only engaging for the modern-day workforce, it’s also cost-effective and safe. This solution will provide operatives with enhanced training capabilities that will inevitably decrease accidents and fatalities onsite”.
The full practical test and scoring is equal to the globally-recognised PAL+ qualification. The tests have been mapped across and match exactly where possible, with the exception of walking with the MEWP.
Tony Warren explains, “Anyone that passes or fails on the simulator is no different to the practical training method. The benefit of the VR training is that it only requires a simulator and not all the equipment, making onsite VR training a real possibility”.
Ian Wells, Construction Training Consultant, said, “I’ve been really fortunate to have had the opportunity to trial the VR training simulator, as a training consultant I support over 100 employees through MEWP training every year at Plantfinder and A-Plant.
“The simulator is just extraordinary, it’s practical and really easy to use, which helps to make operatives feel more at ease during the whole experience. Ideal for novices and those looking to familiarise themselves, I think it will be revolutionary for the industry and extremely beneficial”.
If the trials are successful, IPAF says it will look to fully develop the IPAF PAL+ course into eLearning and VR, by developing a digital version of the theory module and simulated pre-use inspection to be launched later in the year.