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A PC based virtual reality simulator for forklift safety training.

Chugh K
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R43-OH-008562, 2007 Feb; :1-19
The occupational safety and health issue addressed in this research dealt with the reduction of forklift injuries and fatalities through improved safety and injury prevention training technology by building a widely deployable, low cost, Virtual Reality forklift safety trainer (and similar powered industrial devices in the future). The specific goal is to significantly reduce the mortality and injury rate caused by forklift accidents by building an intuitive, low cost training platform that gives forklift operators the opportunity to study operating safety standards, rehearse them, and then be tested and evaluated on their understanding of them without the inherent risks of training on a real forklift, and with the benefit of getting the constructive and active cognitive experience of operating a forklift, which cannot be attained using video tapes or other training materials currently on the market. The importance of the forklift safety problem cannot be overstated. Forklifts are by far the most dangerous industrial vehicles in operation based on the number of fatalities and injuries that occur every year in the United States. Annually, there are nearly 100,000 reported injuries and over 200 fatalities directly attributable to forklift accidents (1). There are roughly 1 million forklifts in service in the United States and more than 1.5 million operators (closer to 6 million if you include occasional operators). This means that there is a roughly 10% chance that a given forklift will be involved in an injury annually. The ubiquity of the forklift in modern commerce combined with the faulty assumption of intuitive operability result in this astonishing level of danger to an equally astonishing segment of the population. The cost of such accidents involves more than just fatalities. It is estimated that at least 20,000 work days are lost each year due to these injuries (1) representing not just a major cost to the economy, but more importantly, a major public and occupational health concern. The approach taken to address this occupational safety training issue involved 4 key elements namely, physically accurate forklift model creation, workplace environment development, training curriculum, and industry vetting. Three environments and three different style forklifts with real physical attributes were developed to show the breadth of applications possible with this technology. Educationally effective course curriculum was developed based on OSHA mandated training specifications as well as the universally accepted cognitive constructivism approach to developing teaching tools. The prototype Virtual Forklift Trainer (VFT) was then vetted by end users, trainers, and industrial users for feedback. The responses received during the vetting stage as to the functionality and usability of the Virtual Forklift Trainer were overwhelmingly positive and have provided the Tactus team with great insight as to future, Phase II enhancements. Some of the specific comments received are shown in the next section regarding significant findings. The Virtual Forklift Trainer will be used in the workplace for training forklift operators on proper handling and safety procedures as set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Potential users will range from small companies with only a few forklift operators to the largest of companies that have high employee turnover and a need for continuous forklift safety training. Our VFL product is also intended to be used by professional safety training centers in combination with their classroom and hands-on training environment.
Simulation-methods; Training; Equipment-operators; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Safety-practices
Tactus Technologies, 2350 North Forest Road, Suite 16A, Getzville, NY 14068
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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Tactus Technologies, Getzville, NY
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division