Augmented Reality and Workplace Safety

Posted by EHS Insight Staff on July 19, 2016 at 3:36 PM

With the Oculus Rift headset taking the tech industry by storm, there's a lot of buzz around virtual reality, even in EHS circles and in HR offices throughout. Virtual reality has been a promising tool in the area of workplace safety training, as experts look for ways to improve the outcome of training programs. 

But did you know there's something that may prove to be even more effective at delivering safety training? It's called augmented reality and it makes virtual reality look like yesterday's news.

What is Augmented Reality? 

Augmented reality (AR) is actually more real than virtual reality. In virtual reality, users wear a visor such as the Oculus Rift model, and enter a totally virtual world. AR, on the other hand, imposes computer-generated images that pop up on a device's screen. 

An AR app can recognize objects, then generate a 3D animation that maps over the actual objects viewed through your phone, tablet, or computer screen (no need to wear a headset!). 

Med students can, for example, view a real human skeleton with digital images of the skeletal and organ system overlayed onto it. For educational purposes, the implications of AR are incredible. Equally exciting is the use of AR in safety training. 

AR
Image credit: bdcnetwork.com

Safety Training with AR

One of the most important considerations for EHS professionals is ensuring that safety training is conveyed in a way that's engaging, relevant, and memorable. The message is critical, so testing whether your employees understand their training is crucial, too. 

Augmented reality improves all of those processes -- from delivery of excellent quality training to practical on-the-spot use to prevent workplace incidents and accidents. For workers on the job, imagine giving them the power to see manuals, instructions, and tips as they pass a device over equipment.  

For actual safety training, it puts the actual equipment in the hands of trainees as helpful training media is superimposed over the physical world. As we all know, there's no substitute for learning on the spot, using real tools. AR combines the effectiveness of using real tools and equipment for training, with the helpfulness of creatives designed to enhance the learning experience. 

We'll be keeping our eyes and ears open for news on augmented reality and how it changes the world of safety training. For updates, check back here!

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Risk Management, EHS Management, Trends, Training Management

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