The Importance Of VR Health And Safety Training Animations

According to self-report data from the Labour Force Survey, 565,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury at work in 2021/22. Whether caused by slips and trips, handling and carrying, or being struck by a moving object, the workplace is one of the most common places for an accident to happen. While there are many variations of Health and Safety training formats, one of the most effective training methods is VR Animation. Improving your team’s safety, and performance, through VR Health and Safety training is an incredibly important aspect of onboarding your staff and keeping them safe while at work. Learning with VR is a fantastic way to practise the theory in limitless, risk-free scenarios.

In this article, we’ll shine a light on the importance of health and safety in the workplace; discussing effective ways to train your employees and how VR animations can play an important role in improving knowledge retention in your team.

Why is health and safety in the workplace important?

First and foremost, it’s a legal requirement for employers and their staff to take reasonable steps to ensure health and safety within the workplace. As laid out in The Health and Safety at Work Act from 1974, one of the key pieces of legislation on this topic, employers have a responsibility to protect both workers and the public from risks to their health and safety. Failure to do so can be incredibly costly for your business, with companies that break health and safety law facing substantial fines and even criminal prosecution.

Beyond this, there are a number of tangible benefits that prioritising health and safety within your business can bring. Making your workplace a safe environment has been shown to improve productivity and efficiency, with workers not having to worry about whether their space is safe or whether they may get injured completing tasks. Further, accidents at work are one of the largest causes of work absences, which can have a significant impact on productivity and your bottom line. This increase in productivity will then help to reduce costs further down the line.

In short, improvements in workplace health and safety result in fewer absences, streamlined operations and reduced risk of paying costly fines.

fire safety vr training

What does health and safety in the workplace entail?

There are a whole range of things that fall under the banner of health and safety in the workplace. As one might expect, things like fire safety and first aid fall under this category. While you might have one or two employees take in-depth training as fire marshals or first aiders, it’s important that everyone in your business has an understanding of the basics.

On top of this, things such as the safe and proper operation and maintenance of tools, machinery and equipment should also be included within health and safety. Naturally, this will be more relevant to specific types of business than others. Similarly, if there are any known hazards like heights or frequent high-moisture areas, you’ll need to make sure employees are aware and know how to handle them.

How do you improve health and safety in the workplace?

In order to improve health and safety in the workplace you’ll need to complete a thorough risk assessment to identify the hazards within your business, and prepare a health and safety policy that outlines the actions you’ll be taking to ensure the health of your employees, as well as everyone’s responsibilities for creating a safe environment.

However, one of the most effective ways to minimise and prevent risk is through education. Understanding what the risks are, how they can arise, and what individuals can do to minimise that risk can have a huge impact on improving health and safety within your business. This starts with a strong onboarding programme, as well as frequent refresher sessions to make sure all employees are informed and prepared for any hazards. This kind of training can be delivered in a number of different ways: for example classroom, lecture-style learning, textbook learning or VR learning.

How do VR health and safety training animations help at work?

VR animations allow you to recreate dangerous and hazardous scenarios that are common – or even just possible – within your workplace in an entirely virtual format. For example, you may create a scenario that explores some of the hazards associated with a particular piece of machinery. Trainees will then use this VR environment to practise the safety procedures in an accurate, yet entirely risk-free way.

This method is endlessly replicable: you can make as many simulations as there are hazards within your workplace, and you can run the training for as many people as you have headsets for. It’s also very cost-effective, as you don’t have to pay for specialist trainers to come in, or lose a lot of working time on whole-day training sessions.

A Hand Holding a Car Part in VR, placing the part on an engine, with instructions on a screen in the background

Why is VR so effective for delivering health and safety training?

While there are many different ways to deliver health and safety training, learning with VR is one of the most effective. VR creates an immersive learning experience that keeps trainees engaged with the material which, in turn, means that they’re better able to grasp the concepts and procedures being explained. There are four main reasons why VR is so effective for delivering health and safety training:

  • It’s more engaging than classroom or textbook learning
  • It allows employees to practise in real-world scenarios without the risk
  • VR has a higher knowledge retention rate
  • Performance is much easier to measure

It’s more engaging than classroom or textbook learning
Perhaps the most defining aspect of VR training is that it’s incredibly interactive. Rather than passively listening to a presentation or lecture, or looking at slides of pictures, trainees are able to actually get into real-life scenarios and interact with the simulation. It also captures the user’s full and undivided attention: the minute the headset goes on, all other distractions fall away. This method of training means that trainees engage with the materials in a more thorough way, improving comprehension and overall retention.

It allows employees to practise in real-world scenarios without the risk
One of the difficulties of running health and safety training sessions is that it can be hard to practically demonstrate hazards and responses effectively. Any physical demonstration will have to lack the danger of a real life hazard in order to be safe. This means that it can be hard to truly grasp the dangers involved because they’re in a very secure setting.

With VR health and safety training, you can create scenarios that look and sound exactly like the hazards that someone in your workplace might face, without any of the risk. Having an accurate representation of what to look out for, as well as other background factors that might be at play – background noise, other people distracting you – allows trainees to step beyond theory and feel more confident if they encountered a hazard for themselves.

VR has a higher knowledge retention rate
For business critical information such as health and safety policies and advice, retention is crucial. Not only does it mean you can be confident that your employees have thoroughly understood the material, but you won’t need to run as many refresher courses. According to research from PwC, trainees who complete VR training have a much higher knowledge retention rate than those using more traditional methods. This means more peace of mind, as well as saving time and money by reducing time spent in health and safety training.

Performance is much easier to measure
Using a virtual reality platform to run your health and safety training allows employers to see the choices and actions that trainees take while completing scenarios. This means it’s easier to see what they’ve learned and internalised and, more importantly, what information hasn’t stuck. Knowing the gaps in your employees’ knowledge helps you to pinpoint the exact refresher sessions or support they need in order to be fully aware of your health and safety policies and procedures.

Developing a targeted approach to training allows you to streamline the process; taking less time overall and costing your business less.

Explore VR animations for your health and safety training with Sliced Bread Animation

VR animation is a powerful tool in your training toolbelt, especially when it comes to health and safety training programmes. If you want to discuss how VR animations would work for your next health and safety training project, get in touch with the team at Sliced Bread Animation today. We’ve been on the forefront of VR solutions since 2014, helping businesses like yours to communicate your messages quicker and provide a more valuable experience for your employees.

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