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Paper w78_2007_42:
Using virtual reality (VR) to improve conveyor belt safety in surface mining

Facilitated by the SciX project

Jason Lucas, Walid Thabet, Poonam Worlikar

Using virtual reality (VR) to improve conveyor belt safety in surface mining

Abstract:Each year there are numerous injuries, serious and fatal, that occur around conveyor belts because of inadequate training and untrained personnel. Current safety training programs for conveyor belts are not defined but generalized under safety training practices required by ANSI and OSHA. With the high rate of injury, it is important to research a safe and efficient form of training that is specific for conveyor belts. It is with this in mind that virtual reality is being investigated as a viable form of this safety training. Virtual reality has been used in the construction and mining industries for accident recreation, fabrication training, and safety training, but has not been used with conveyor belts. A research program is being developed at Virginia Tech to investigate the effectiveness of VR for training of personnel working around conveyor belts in the surface mining indus-try. The program involves developing a series of instructional-based and task-based VR modules that are intended to assist the user in understanding the components and assemblies of the conveyor belt, explain the different hazards and safety issues associated with moving belt components when performing maintenance, and test the userís ability on re-solving problems while performing a required set of pre-defined tasks in the VR environment. This paper explores and discusses the framework and implementation of the instructional-based module. Development of the task-based module and evaluation of the VR program are not covered under the scope of this paper. This research is supported by a NIOSH Grant # 1 R01 OH008716-01.

Keywords:virtual reality, conveyor belt, safety, training, surface mining

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