In South Africa, miners whose roles involve working at heights can now get training for the job in virtual reality, a groundbreaking development for safety in mining.

The Dekra Institute of Learning just introduced a course for practical working at heights training operated VR and AR (augmented reality) platform.

The course was developed in collaboration with Virtutec, a South African Mining VR and AR training software company, and follows a 3D e-learning model.

Its PC-based model allows the programme, called the Dekra VC IOL VR Training course, to be used by multiple users in corporations at a time. Users can access the training on VR headsets or laptops.

A huge step forward in training for the mining sector

Opencast and underground mines both have employees in risky occupations that involve working at heights. Such roles typically involve similarly high-risk training for new hires.

Being on a VR and AR platform, the training course removes real-world risks of fatalities and injuries from falling, while enabling trainees to get the same 3D, hands-on, immersive training experience that they would in the physical world.

In other words, prepares trainees for their work just as effectively, without the hazards.

About the Dekra IOL VR Training course

Customisable and realistic

COO of Virtutec Dennis Vaden says the programme is “extremely realistic and gives the effect of being on the construction site, allowing the user to feel as if they are walking and moving around, across multiple height levels.”

What’s more, the programme is customisable, with users able to select a different environment background for the virtual construction or mine, other simulated site. This enables it to fit with whatever industry the trainee is in, be in mining, construction, engineering, and so on.

What’s more, the backgrounds can also be personalised to clients – for example, companies using the course have the option to do things like incorporate their branding into the simulated environments.

They can also choose to create a background that looks like the company’s actual site, so that trainees can be in an environment they already know and recognise, providing a more comfortable easy experience. It also means the training can be carried over into the real-life environment in which the trainees work more easily.

The programme can also be scaled up to create virtual training environments in which hundreds of users can learn and be on the same ‘site’ simultaneously.

Bringing fun and independence to mining training

The Dekra IOL course is self-paced, allowing trainees to take charge of their own learning and have some independence as they go through the programme’s modules. Facilitators are able to help trainees during the course should they need it.

Dekra says it is “proud to present a safe, fun, and informative digital way for anyone to learn about working at heights – using this excellent technology.”