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VR training debuts on M5 motorway

3. July 2018 | Comments (0)

Virtual Reality (VR) powered access training is making its debut on the M5 motorway in Oldbury viaduct contract being carried out by joint venture contractor BMV for Highways England.

BMV (BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and VolkerFitzpatrick) is using the VR technology from Nationwide Platforms in a bid to improve safety of those working at a height of five metres above ground level, replacing 2.3km of drainage under the viaduct as well as installing formwork and shuttering for concrete repairs to the underside of the concrete deck.


Highways England's Zbigniew Twarowski, checking out the VR unit on the M5 project

As well as supplying the aerial work platforms Nationwide has supplied the first VR simulators in the UK allowing operators to improve their skills before they head onto site. The company claims that it is the first major project of its kind to use VR technology in this way.

The training began on 16th April, with 33 IPAF qualified operators and a further 10 staff from BMV trained so far. Furthermore, 17 senior Highways England staff familiarised themselves with the access platform operations. Using 32 different training scenarios, the VR technology allows qualified operators become familiarised with the work and refine their skills in a safe environment with no risk to themselves or others.

training on the VR unit
More than 30 operators received boom and scissor training on the VR unit before working on concrete repairs under the viaduct

BMV JV project director Nigel Fullam said: “The use of this new technology aligns with one of our key project values - ‘Working Safely Together’. We are delighted to be the first major Highways England project in the UK to use this training. The collaboration shown by the whole project team to bring this training to the M5 demonstrates our commitment to continued improvement and challenging the status quo of traditional plant training.”

Highways England senior project manager Zbigniew Twarowski added: “Safety is at the heart of everything we do at Highways England, so using technology in this way is important. 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.”

Peter Douglas, Nationwide Platforms operations director, said: “The ability for operators to make mistakes in a safe and controlled environment not only prepares them for how to react to danger, but also provides them with valuable experience that we feel will reduce the number of potential accidents on site, as well as damage to buildings and equipment.”
Collett & Sons Ltd

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