As part of its ongoing efforts to create a safe plant environment and ensure that everyone understands the dangers of tube handling operations, Vallourec has designed a virtual reality program for its employees. The simulation exercises will help them understand all the hidden dangers involved, as well as the risks of ignoring safety instructions when handling or moving loads.
Virtual reality lets you immerse employees in a complex environment. We wanted to target not only new hires, but also existing operators who may have developed lax attitudes.Marc Laffont Senior HSE Manager for the Europe/Africa Region and designer of the program
Deployment has begun at plants in France, and is expected to be extended shortly to the entire Europe/Africa Region, and possibly to other Group sites.
Last May, the virtual reality equipment was sent to La Forge, where the operators and managers were able to run several simulations.
Denis Vischi, TTH/Cutting Foreman at Vallourec Tubes France, took part in the exercise and told us about his experience: “Virtual reality helps you get a sense of your surroundings while moving around the workshop. You quickly realize that the crane operator doesn’t have a full view of their surroundings, despite their high position—quite the opposite, in fact. With their stack of tubes and all the obstacles on the ground, including machinery, desks, and tube storage racks, their field of view is greatly reduced. Not to mention all the people walking through the workshop under their virtual stack of tubes...the experience will make your blood run cold.”
Tube handling is one of the major risks at Vallourec, with hazards including falling loads, lost loads (due to a power failure), falling steel bars, or broken slings. Of course, virtual reality is no substitute for traditional training designed to instill better health and safety habits in the workplace. It is a supplementary module that deals with serious subjects in a fun way.
Safety objectives include: