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Melbourne Water grabs gong for VR tech use in hazard identification

Melbourne Water’s use of virtual reality (VR) technology for hazard identification has been awarded ‘best solution to a specific workplace Health & Safety issue’ at the 2017 Worksafe Awards.

Using VR to help pinpoint potential hazards early in asset design, the utility successfully trialled and adopted the technology to identify design defects and OH&S risks during the planning phase of capital projects.

Melbourne Water Technology and Innovation Safety Manager Scott McMillan said using VR offers an interactive way to identify hazards early.

“With our traditional hazard identification methods, we still noticed that some hazards were being identified once the asset was operational,” he said.

During trials, Melbourne Water identified 20 OH&S issues on top of the six items detected using traditional methods – two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional modelling.

“We knew we needed to engage the operations and maintenance technicians in a more immersive way and so we thought a virtual reality system could help us to bridge that gap, and show the technicians what the proposed designed would look like in as close as possible to a real world space,” McMillan said.

“In order to test the benefits of the VR system we ran the old hazard identification system in parallel with the new VR system. We only identified six potential hazards using the traditional method, but we were able to identify 20 by using the VR system”.

Alongside Melbourne Water, WA’s  Water Corporation has also started trialing VR technology  to help identify OH&S issues in infrastructure before construction stage.
Scott McMillan will be speaking about Melbourne Water’s VR program in more detail at Ozwater’18. Check out the full program here.

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