Virtual Technology at the Fore of Construction Training
Virtual reality simulators have taken their place in the area of construction training, with contractors working on the M5 Oldbury Viaduct project now practicing operations with simulator scissor and boom lifts before carrying them out on the real thing.
Leicestershire owned powered access equipment provider Nationwide Platforms have supplied the VR simulators needed for the project, the first of their kind in the UK. From the initial project start in April, 33 IPAF-qualified operators and 10 additional members of staff from BMV (BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and VolkerFitzpatrick) have been through the training programme, which allows users to use a replica platform basket and control panel like those on the real machines, whilst wearing a full-motion-tracking VR headset.
The simulation training covers a range of applications and allows trainers to give live feedback in a safer way that would not be possible in a real situation on a construction site. The applications covered include operation on rough terrains, overhead hazards and safe loading and unloading operations.
M5 Oldbury Viaduct project
The project to repair the M5 Oldbury Viaduct will see the drainage system completely replaced, as flooding has been a major cause behind the deterioration and water damage on the carriageway. The lighting is also due to be upgraded. The targeted end date for the works is Spring 2019, although contractors hope to have the Southbound carriageway works complete by Summer 2018.
A direct quote from Highways England senior project manager Zbigniew Twarowski, said: “A lot of the activity on the project takes place underneath the viaduct. Our teams are working as hard as they can to get the repair work completed as quickly as possible, but it is essential that this is done safely.”