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Abstract: The safe operation of heavy equipment requires proper training to develop safety awareness, good motor skills and an understanding of basic applications. Virtual interactive environments combined with working machine controls provide an opportunity to gain familiarization of controls and learn basic machine operations and functions. As new operators enter the workforce, the chances for critical incidents rise because of inexperience. In a simulated environment, operators can perform exercises and make mistakes without harm to themselves, other personnel or the jobsite—while gaining knowledge and confidence. From a management standpoint, using simulators allows multiple students to train at one time, anytime day or night without regard to the weather, and with one instructor supervising several students at once. Plus, fuel costs and machine maintenance costs are alleviated for the simulator training portion of the program. Training on a simulator allows students the opportunity to repeat exercises as many times as needed to learn proper techniques. The simulator also allows experienced operators to refine their skills or break bad habits. A PC-based heavy equipment simulator can be applied relatively inexpensively and safely, regardless of user skill level. This paper outlines a framework for virtual reality based training simulators to provide heavy equipment operator instruction before operators begin using actual machines. It will examine simulator training as part of an overall training program (simulators augment, but do not replace training on the actual machine). The simulators referenced include real-life training exercise scenarios modeled after actual worksites. A broad range of topics will be represented in the paper: hardware design, evaluation of users, performance measurements (benchmarks), machine exercises and operations, and safety training. Outcomes from simulator user will be included (what worked, what didn’t and lessons learned).
Abstract: This paper takes a look why the cost of heavy equipment operator turnover is substantial in both direct and indirect costs to employers and how proper hiring and training impacts turnover. Companies must hire the right operators from the start and then make sure they get ongoing training so they operate at the highest production levels and in the safest manner possible. Another benefit to having a well-trained employee is that the person is engaged in the welfare of the organization. Turnover can be greatly reduced by using simulators. The ability to screen new hires and provide training for current operators can be conducted with heavy equipment simulators. Understand the real costs of losing and replacing an operator and what simulators can do for your organization, and the difference can add to your bottom line.