- Photo courtesy of Caterpillar

Photo courtesy of Caterpillar

Caterpillar Safety Services has announced the development of Cat Safety VR, a new virtual reality (VR) safety training module. Customized for paving applications, the new VR safety training solution immerses the trainee into a virtual four-lane rural highway construction site, so the employee learns to interact with coworkers and identify hazards in a safe and controlled environment.

Road construction jobsites are full of hazards and distractions that create risks for employees, especially new workers. In-depth training related to specific road construction hazards, the importance of following proper procedures, and effective communication among workers can help to reduce safety incidents at the jobsite.

The new Cat Safety VR comes complete with everything a company needs to conduct the safety module. The kit includes a gaming laptop preloaded to run the program, HTC VIVE virtual reality headset system (including hand controls), mount stand kit, and transport case. Cat Safety VR is mobile, so users can easily transport the kit anywhere to conduct training with employees.

Once putting on the VR headset, the trainee is immersed in the virtual four-lane highway project for a site flyover and a pre-shift “huddle” with coworkers. A series of five scenarios then plays out during the training session, which is designed to show employees the many potential hazards associated with paving a highway adjacent to live traffic.

After receiving instructions from the foreman, the user advances to the taper to inspect and install traffic control devices, which helps employees to focus when encountered by unpredictable traffic traveling at a high rate of speed. Module scenarios at the paving train help the user identify and negotiate blind spots, safely navigate around and between equipment, and improve communication with workers. As the module progresses, another setting features an excavator and coworker using a concrete saw to teach the importance of always wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

Each decision made offers positive reinforcement for the correct action or a memorable negative consequence for an unsafe choice. The training module concludes with a daily wrap-up to reinforce the positive lessons learned and stress that no production “emergency” at the jobsite is worth risking the safety of the worker or anyone else. Total program run time is approximately 20-30 minutes per session.