Working at height training with VR and gamification

Rapid Access has introduced a virtual reality training simulator kit with scissor and boom lift scenarios to train operators in a safe environment

Mobile elevating work platforms, Safety, Working at height, Virtual reality, Training, Rapid access, Serious Labs


Working at height is a high risk construction activity that is a major cause of injuries and fatalities on sites. Mobile elevating work platforms are considered the safest method of working at height, and yet, they can never be entirely safe without well trained and competent operators. Onsite training with highly valuable equipment can be expensive and pose risk of damage to equipment and injuries for operators. To eliminate these risks, UAE-based powered access equipment rental company Rapid Access is offering a virtual reality (VR) solution to the rental industry for training and operation of heavy equipment such as cranes and aerial boom lifts.

The new virtual reality training simulator, the likes of which were previously only available in the aviation industry, is developed by UK-based experiential learning solutions company Serious Labs. The simulator provides immersive VR simulations comprising scissor lift and boom lift modules for operators to explore realistic jobsite environments and safely test the limits of equipment in dangerous situations.

The scissor lift modules, co-developed by UK-based Nationwide Platforms, consist of 18 training scenarios on slab and diesel rough terrain scissor lifts. There are also 16 articulating boom lift scenarios. The simulations progressively become more challenging, isolating tasks around driving, lifting, platform positioning, and operating. Each module takes the novice approximately one hour and fifteen minutes to complete and a seasoned professional about 45 minutes. Metrics provide feedback about the operator’s performance, showing weakness and strengths.

The simulator kit includes an Oculus VR headset, safety cage, scissor lift controls and Oculus touch controls which automatically calibrate the headset for each operator. The hardware is offered as an upfront purchase, and the software is sold through a subscription model.

Nigel Taylor, European director, Serious Labs, says: “The scissor lift modules, which is new to the unit, has been developed over the last nine months with the help of Nationwide Platforms to create as many possible scenarios that meet the requirements of clients. It enables operators to become fully emerged in the virtual world of a jobsite, mimicking everything they’d expect to see and feel in a real world construction environment. The advantage of the software subscription model is that it provides room for expansion of scenarios, which means the product will be more advanced at the end of a subscription period. With technology advances, we see these machines evolve into networked systems with multiple scenarios which have interaction between machines and avatars of people,”

The VR simulator will be available globally in April for subscription, lease or rental. Rapid Access, the distributor for the Middle East, will provide servicing and support in the region with the help of Serious Labs.

Joe Keely, regional marketing manager, Middle East and International, Rapid Access, says: “We want operators to train in a safe environment and improve their skills. The VR simulator will help operators familiarise themselves with real-world scenarios that they’re going to encounter on their job sites, which will help build more muscle memory to solve tasks better. We see huge demand for this product in the Middle East from rental companies and contractors.”

Joe Keely, regional marketing manager, Rapid Access, and Nigel Taylor, European director, Serious Labs.

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PMV Middle East - August 2020

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