VR for PPE Training

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has become a hot topic. PPE equipment is required to be worn in many different industries and job roles to reduce contact with safety hazards and avoid workplace injury or illness. Required PPE items are specific to the industry and job role. Items like gloves, hard hats, ear plugs or muffs, respirators, steel toe shoes, safety glasses, coveralls, vests or full body suits could all be considered PPE. If these protective items are not put on properly, the employee could be exposed to hazardous conditions and subject to injury or illness.

According to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers are required to provide training to employees on the proper use of PPE. Training subjects required include what kind of PPE is required for the industry, and job role when to use PPE, the proper application and adjustment of PPE and the proper wear and removal of PPE.  Employers are also required to train on the limitations of the PPE and how to maintain and dispose of PPE properly. OSHA maintains these PPE standards and monitors to ensure they are met.

Why is PPE Training More Important in 2020 and Beyond?

With the arrival of the COVID pandemic, the proper use of PPE in healthcare has become more important than ever.  Following the correct procedure for the use and care of PPE is critical to minimize disease exposure for all medical staff, nurses and doctors.  OSHA issued new and special standards for PPE during the COVID pandemic, especially for healthcare.  The special requirements for healthcare include gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection when treating or interacting with a COVID or COVID contact patient to prevent infection.  They are also in place to protect from exposure to potentially dangerous cleaning and disinfecting chemicals.

Adding pressure to the proper PPE in healthcare concern is the constant updating of PPE procedures and shortage of PPE supplies. Throughout the pandemic, PPE procedures have changed and updated almost daily.  This kind of rapid procedure change requires the hospital to give the right training, to the right people, right on time.  OSHA currently offers PPE training on their website through elearning modules. Hospitals also work to create life-like scenarios live and in person, pulling valuable resources off the job and into the classroom.  Though elearning is efficient and real-life scenarios are effective, they do not offer the rich training experience that Virtual Reality can deliver using few resources. 

How is VR Better for Delivering PPE Training?

Virtual Reality offers meaningful and realistic training experiences. With VR, you can create a real-life based scenario, place employees in an environment that feels real, and watch as they begin to behave as if they were truly in that environment.  The neuropathways activate and their previous training begins to kick in. Using VR to train, especially for PPE or other procedures that require consistency and accuracy, provides a practice opportunity where the employee can apply skills immediately in a realistic environment.  With the immediate shortage of PPE, VR can provide proper training without using valuable resources. 

Ryan Chapman, CEO of Motive.io, recently spoke on the webinar “Resilience, Return, and Reimagination: What VRAR Can Do For Business” about VR and PPE.  Ryan articulated the value of VR Training for PPE, saying “With VR, they can [train] at any time.  The scenarios run the same no matter who they are, and you will start to see the impact much more immediately.”

Utilizing VR for PPE training delivers a consistent simulation training for all employees by conveying the same scenarios, in the same way, every time.  This uniformity guarantees that all employees are trained on the same situations and get the same critical instruction and feedback.  The immersive training will be available to the employee around the clock allowing for faster ramp up times and easy access for all shifts.  Additionally, using VR to train proper PPE procedures will minimize the need for additional senior staff members to participate in the training and supervise the practice of PPE. 

How is Motive Delivering PPE Training to the Healthcare Industry?

Motive.io recently partnered with the Accenture Social Innovator Program to create VR PPE Training for Frontline Healthcare workers.  Together, they designed and developed a VR PPE training that can be quickly customized and deployed to healthcare workers anywhere.  As OSHA changes to PPE procedure are made, content can be updated and instantly pushed to the training headsets.  This partnership project created a massively scalable way to provide customizable VR PPE training across the globe.

Accenture staff will also be trained on how to create and modify the VR environments, such as changing the look and feel of the scene to reflect diverse healthcare settings around the world.  This partnership has resulted in immersive, high impact PPE training that can be quickly modified and scaled to empower hundreds of frontline healthcare workers with the information they need to stay safe. 

Betty Dannewitz

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