ASSP App Uses VR for Fall Protection Training
The VR Fall Protection Experience was developed based on the ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection and Fall Restraint standards and uses virtual reality to provide users an immersive experience in which to learn how to operate safely when working at height.
The American Society of Safety Professionals has developed a new VR Fall Protection Experience app as a training tool for employees.
Fall protection was the most frequently cited OSHA violation in fiscal year 2017, ASSP reports. The VR Fall Protection Experience was developed based on the ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection and Fall Restraint standards and uses virtual reality to provide users an immersive experience in which to learn how to operate safely when working at height.
The app has two parts: hazard identification and building a fall protection system. As users begin their VR experience, they first must identify the fall hazards present on the roof of a two-story building, such as a skylight or a piece of equipment placed near the roof’s edge.
“We wanted to try to find a good cross-section of hazards that would include elements of different environments that users might see when working at height,” said Thomas Kramer, P.E., CSP, vice chair of the ANSI Z359 Accredited Standards Committee and fall protection subject matter expert for the app. “Based on people’s experiences, whether they be construction-focused or maintenance-focused, the app helps users be aware of hazards that may not be as apparent to them.”
After identifying fall hazards, users move on to building a fall protection system for a coworker to use while working on the rooftop. The process involves selecting and testing an anchorage point, harness, and lanyard in order to provide the safest level of fall protection. The experience will have different outcomes based on the choices made by the employee, and users can run through the scenario multiple times to make difference choices.
“The app demonstrates that fall protection PPE is a system that needs to be designed rather than just a piece of equipment that will keep you safe,” Kramer said. “It impresses upon the user the seriousness of these life and death decisions that they have to consider when using personal protective equipment for falls and allows them to fail safely.”
After the 3-to-5-minute exercise is over, the user’s performance is assessed based on their ability to identify hazards and anchor points, inspect and select a safe harness, and build a fall protection system that allows for successful arrest and safe-rescue possibility.