The first step in preventing workplace accidents is identifying hazards. Often, only once an incident has happened is it realised that something needed fixing. And whether we like to admit it or not, our people are our first line of defence. If our people are hazard unaware or hazard tolerant there is actually technology that can help us. In today’s digital age, there is a way to pinpoint hazards even before any accident or injury occurs? The answer is just right before our eyes.
Eye tracking has become a reliable technology to understand work environments better. The concept is actually quite simple: VR technology can be programmed to reveal and provide analytics as to where someone focuses their attention as they complete a VR training experience. The worker only needs to wear a VR headset fitted with eye tracking technology, and the system tracks every movement of their eyes. Supervisors can view the worker’s visual behaviour in real time. The technology can record it for analysis and reveal what the worker is seeing, but more importantly missing. The recorded video can also be used in virtual reality (VR) training focused on onboarding new employees to work on similar tasks.
Eye Tracking Reveals Workers’ Situational Awareness
Human error, specifically the workers’ lack of situational awareness, is often the cause of occupational accidents in high-risk fields. It isn’t because the staff doesn’t know about the safety hazards; rather, they are blind to them. Workers, especially those who have been doing the same task for a long time, tend to become desensitised to their surroundings and operate on “autopilot” when doing their routine tasks.
With eye tracking, you can get unbiased and accurate information on how workers perceive their environment, especially when they are on their “autopilot” mode. It allows you to see evidentiary visual behaviours which your workers are not even aware of themselves. In turn, you gain a deeper level of insight into how they work and interact with their environment. From there, you can start identifying hazards that would otherwise remain unknown if you’ve only relied on what your staff says and observes. Importantly, through this technology, you will be able to determine if your workers are even aware of the hazard, register it as a hazard and if indeed they might do that on a repeated basis. Through this technology, you will then be able to act to show the worker that they seem to either tolerate hazards and you;ll be able to elevate their knowledge as to the hazards – with the likely outcome that staff will be more hazard aware.
Virtual Reality with Eye Tracking for Efficient Training
Again, other than determining unknown hazards, staff distractions and roadblocks in your operations, eye tracking can also be used in safety training. For one, the recorded video of your workers can be used as training material. Also, if you use VR technology in simulation training for high-risk jobs, you can integrate eye tracking to see how trainees interact with the simulated environment and process various tasks. You can catch and correct any unsafe behaviour at this stage. This way, they are well-equipped with a top-level of situational awareness as well as hazard awareness, along with other skills, before they are placed on the actual environment.
If you’re a manager in a high-risk field such as mining or construction, capitalise on the power of eye tracking and VR technology to improve workplace safety and employee training. You can potentially save time on training and money from lost productivity due to worker’s injury. More importantly, with such technologies, you can keep your employees safe and healthy — they are your biggest assets, after all.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about VR training and eye tracking.