Fonterra has engaged engineering consultancy Beca to develop a virtual reality based health and safety training system that, it says, will let new employees navigate its manufacturing and distribution sites without the need to set foot on site and will help substantially reduce onboarding times.
Fonterra says it has already completed a successful pilot and the VR system will replace a significant portion of the hands-on health and safety training that is often costlier and less effective.
Also, it says, “Training can be tailored to each of Fonterra’s sites and tested through the completion of modules.”
Beca project manager Andrew Cowie said the technology could be replicated easily in other workplaces and training areas.
“The reality capture for these training tours is done easily with a handheld camera and the VR simulation works via a smart phone using a simple cardboard headset,” said Cowie.
“Walmart now trains using VR, American footballers are using it and so is the military. Our clients are increasingly interested in the application of VR technologies and the value it can add to their businesses,” he said.
Fonterra director of health and safety, resilience and risk Greg Lazzaro said the technology would enable staff to undertake virtual health and safety training in an extremely immersive and realistic way.
“That means our people can learn about and identify potential hazards more quickly than ever, encouraging more engaged employees and better workplace safety,” he said.
“Using VR means our people can experience hazards in a realistic simulated environment, enhancing learning experiences, without being put in harm’s way.”