The Manitoba Homebuilders Association (MHBA) proposed the digitalization of four safety courses for use in both blended and on-line delivery of training in support of the MHBA’s safety training courses. The safety programs will be delivered at and in partnership with the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM). The target group or audience includes general laborers, tradespeople, new supervisors and safety trainers working in homebuilders, commercial and the heavy construction industries and transportation. It is the intention of MHBA to share these resources with Construction Safety Association of Manitoba, Work Safely at Manitoba Heavy Construction’s Association, RPM Trucking Safety Association at Manitoba Trucking Association and other safety associations who would benefit from these interactive resources.
The workplace safety and health issues to be addressed include: confined space, fall protection, scaffolding and safe use of power tools. Currently these courses are not available using this innovative and engaging approach to teaching safety. The blended/on line virtual reality format will standardize safety training, allow greater access to training in rural and remote locations, increase access for refresher training, improve retention through use of different teaching strategies, provide opportunity for repetition and reduce employees time away from work for training. Virtual reality gives safety associations the means to engage our technology savvy youth. In addition, virtual reality allows participants to experience height and confined space sensations in a safe non-threatening environment before getting into a difficult and uncomfortable situation. Recent changes to legislation will demand increased training in these areas so digitalization of the courses will ensure larger audiences receive certification. This virtual reality experience was developed by a team of experts well versed in adult learning principles and knowledge transfer planning
According to Manitoba’s 5 year plan for Workplace Illness and Injury Prevention government is committed “to ensuring that safety and health programs reflect workplace realities and meet the evolving needs of both workers and employers. Creating a culture of prevention means further strengthening opportunities for accessible, flexible training; focusing efforts where they’re needed most such as high-hazard industries and workplaces that employ most-at-risk workers; and improving system-wide responsiveness for all stakeholders via distinct, dedicated resources both for enforcement and prevention.”(p.5) Development of these virtual reality safety courses will address the Workplace Illness and Injury Prevention guidelines by giving youth simulated experiences of hazardous situations. When they spot the hazard in real life they will recognize and be more capable of avoiding injury.