News

Heaters and smoke simulate fire emergencies in new ‘immersive VR’

By on

Researchers at Nottingham university have discovered how a pioneering immersive virtual reality system might be able to improve workers’ response to a fire – by getting users to smell smoldering ash and feel heat.


Users in the test were asked to respond to two scenarios: a building fire and evacuation and an engine disassembly task with a fluid leak. As participants using the software approached a virtual fire, they felt heat from three 2kW heaters and smelt smoke from a scent diffuser.

This group was compared against another group who were observed in this scenario using only audio-visual elements of VR. 

The Nottingham research, funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), established contrasting reactions between the two groups.

Those in the multi-sensory group had a greater sense of urgency, reflecting a real-life scenario, and were more likely to avoid the virtual fires.

However, evidence from the audio-visual participants suggested that they were treating the experience more like a “game” and behaviours were “less consistent” with those expected in a real-world situation. 

As participants using the software approached a virtual fire, they felt heat from three 2kW heaters and smelt smoke. Photograph: IOSH

Dr Glyn Lawson, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, said: “Health and safety training can fail to motivate and engage employees and can lack relevance to real-life contexts. Our research suggests that virtual environments can help address these issues, by increasing trainees’ engagement and willingness to participate in further training.”

The full study is in a report released today for IOSH’s annual conference, titled: ‘Immersive virtual worlds: Multisensory virtual environments for health and safety training’

British Safety Council offers virtual and augmented reality training. Find out more here

NEWS


Chickens Istock 476590118 Andresr

Government expands daily contact testing for critical workers

By Belinda Liversedge on 28 July 2021

The government has expanded daily contact testing with 1,200 new sites across frontline sectors, helping to avoid disruption to crucial services.



Open plan iStock-1011792700_monkeybusinessimages SMLL.jpg

Only 5 per cent of firms expect staff in the office full time, says CBI

By Belinda Liversedge on 26 July 2021

93 per cent of firms plan to adopt hybrid working models, according to a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report.



Istock MED 1212160149 William87

Masks only effective if ‘everyone does it’ warn health leaders

By Belinda Liversedge on 13 July 2021

Experience has taught us that we can’t guarantee people will behave responsibly to prevent Covid transmission and wear masks, the chair of the British Safety Council has warned.