Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Enhancing Safety Through Extended Reality


Bechtel learns through its pilot attempts the benefits and the difficulties of using extended reality in construction industry.

Dailycsr.com – 14 January 2019 – The “International Labour Organization” reported that over three hundred forty million “occupational accidents” are recorded annually on a global scale. However, in comparison to the “other industries”, the construction sector’s statistic figures seem to show a “disproportionately high rate” of such accidents.
There is an industry wide effort in the “engineering, procurement, and construction” sectors, wherein Bechtel also plays an active part, to seek new ways of overcoming these onsite “health and safety challenges”. Similarly, in the attempt of educating the construction workers and making them situational aware, more and more businesses are investing in the technology of extended reality.
Explaining the concept of extended reality, Marvin Johnson wrote:
“Extended Reality (XR) is the industry catch-all technical term referring to all superimposed real-world and immersive virtual environments”.
He also added the term included the realm of Virtual Reality, in short VR, Assisted Reality, in short AR, and Mixed Reality, in short MR.
At Bechtel, the improvement of workers’ safety conditions which adds up to reduce the “overall rate of work-related accidents” take a front seat of priorities. With the help of XR technologies, the company is able to address these challenges besides “significantly improving project efficiency and exploring new ways to design and build structures”.
Giving some example, Bechtel talked about its “VR Training for Crane Operators” initiative, whereby adding:
“Bechtel is collaborating with Industrial Training International to increase quality and reduce the cost of craft training through immersive virtual experiences and the use of videogame-like controls. Combining VR and input from industry experts, the training module provides in-depth real-life scenarios. The new system is expected to improve the screening and selection process for crane operators, supporting our zero accidents philosophy while simultaneously protecting equipment and saving money”.
Among other such initiatives, there are “AR-Assisted Lockout Tagout Procedure”, and “Immersive Jobsite Walkthrough Experience”, as mentioned by Bechtel.
However, adopting to these technologies present some practical hurdles, as they depend on “wearables, like glasses or gloves, or mobile devices to deliver information to the user”, while the construction sites come with “noise pollution, extreme temperatures, humidity, dust, and other environmental concerns” which do not create viable environment for these technology driven solutions.
Besides environmental issues, incorporating these technologies into the existing form create practical complexities, while Johnson cautions:
“situational awareness is critical in a busy construction site. If XR systems distract users from what is occurring in their surroundings, the technology solution could pose more risk than the problem it’s attempting to address”.
Therefore Bechtel is heavily relying on learning from every pilot projects with the objective of learning and sharing the knowledge with “technology providers” so as to “drive the industry forward in adoption and shape the hardware requirements to realize the jobsite of the future”.