Fully immersive virtual simulations can boost industrial accident prevention

Industries must embrace 3D modelling with fully immersive virtual simulations in their occupational safety management systems. According to a new doctoral dissertation from the University of Vaasa, this will help them to optimise accident prevention.

The benefits of VR (Virtual Reality) technology stem from its capacity to present a replica of any facility, situation or process to be used for assessment or training. Furthermore, when used effectively, VR can reduce risks in companies' operations. It can provide users with better work practices and improve hazard perception through instructions relevant to products, processes or working environment.  

– Such features are vital to accident prevention since traditional industrial safety training methods have mainly been monotonous and boring without adequate interactions of related tasks to stimulate learning and retention. This is particularly problematic as the current generation of employees is more conversant with games, devices, and programs. Learning within this sphere is more acceptable to them, says Ebo Kwegyir-Afful who will publicly defend his dissertation at the University of Vaasa, on Friday, 28th of October. 

Ebo Kwegyir-Afful bases these claims on the statistical evidence of experiments conducted at the Technobothnia research centre in Vaasa between 2017–2022. The experiments were designed to demonstrate the potential of VR in accident prevention during manufacturing processes and maintenance activities at facility conceptual stages. Two industrial 3D models were utilised: a lithium-ion battery manufacturing factory and a gas power plant. 

According to the experiment results, VR can boost the salient areas of industrial accident prevention: safety training, hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA), and emergency preparedness and response (EPR) initiatives. These are the three core areas of industrial accident prevention according to the ISO 45001: 2018 standard.  

– When utilised appropriately, VR can enable industries to achieve significant safety countermeasures by increasing or improving safety training, HIRA and emergency preparedness and response initiatives to be more interactive and engaging. With these measurements the entire organizational safety management system will become more effective, says Ebo based on his doctoral study. 

 A significant part of the HIRA process includes controlling and mitigating perceived hazards for rectification while designing the factory model. To this end, the study emphasises safety countermeasures at the factory conceptual stages.  

Doctoral dissertation 

Kwegyir-Afful, Ebo (2022)Simulation-Based Countermeasures Towards Accident Prevention: Virtual Reality Utilization in Industrial Processes and Activities. Acta Wasaensia 492. Doctoral dissertation. Vaasan yliopisto / University of Vaasa. 

Publication pdf 

Public defence 

The public examination of M.Sc. Ebo Kwegyir-Afful’s doctoral dissertation “Simulation-Based Countermeasures Towards Accident Prevention: Virtual Reality Utilization in Industrial Processes and Activities” will be held on Friday 28th October 2022 at noonat the University of Vaasa, auditorium Kurtén. 
It is possible to follow the defence also online (Zoom, password: 379145). Professor Jouni Kivistö-Rahnasto (Tampere University) and Docent, D.Sc. Arto Reiman (University of Oulu) will act as opponents and Professor Jussi Kantola as a custos. 


Further information

Ebo Kwegyir-Afful lives in Vaasa. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) and a Master of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Vaasa. He was born in 1970 in Ghana. 

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