According to studies, deficiencies in safety training are often related to a low level of occupational safety. For this reason, we want to discover new ways of developing safety training.
The development of technology has introduced virtual reality (VR) into safety training, but the amount of research-based evidence of its benefits in safety training is limited. As VR safety training is becoming more popular, we need to better understand its mechanisms and effects. The objective of our research is to determine how a VR learning environment affects occupational safety behaviour and safety thinking.
Today we know that understanding human factors and their effects is an essential part of safety management. Safety critical industries have already promoted knowledge concerning human factors, but our research project aims to also produce knowledge regarding human factors for other industries. We study the effects of a human factors tool (HF tool) on occupational safety and operation.
The context of the project is the construction industry, but its results can also be used to improve safety training and learning in other industries.
The project will be carried out in six construction enterprises in the form of an intervention study, with approximately 100 participants. We will create exercises in safety training, culture and behaviour, in collaboration with the participating enterprises, and these exercises will be implemented interactively in a VR environment. Half of the participants will be trained through VR and the other half using traditional safety training on the same topic. In addition, some of the participants will test the HF tool as a supportive instrument. By comparing the different training method groups, we will estimate the benefits and challenges of using VR and the HF tool and compare them to those in traditional safety training.
The Researcher in Charge is Maria Tiikkaja (on maternity leave 7.4.2018-30.8.2019, Vuokko Puro as substitute). The research group consists of Vuokko Puro, Specialist; Mikko Nykänen, Researcher; Henriikka Kannisto, Research Engineer; Eero Lantto, Researcher; Anna-Maria Teperi, Senior Researcher; Tuula Räsänen, Senior Specialist; Tommi Alanko, Director; Kristian Lukander, Research Engineer; Jose Uusitalo, Specialist; Frans Simpura, Specialist; and Pasi Polvi, Technician.
The research project will run from January 2018 until January 2020.
Information on the project will be published throughout its duration, and the final results will be published at the beginning of 2020.
The research project is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund, FIOH and the participating enterprises.