A Transferable Psychological Evaluation of Virtual Reality Applied to Safety Training in Chemical Manufacturing
High-profile accidents in the Chemical sector – across research and manufacturing scales – have provided strong drivers to develop a new benchmark in safety training and compliance. Herein, we describe the design, implementation, and standardised psychological evaluation of Virtual Reality (VR) applied to process safety training. Through a specific industrial case study, we show that testable learning of complex safety-specific tasks in VR is statistically equivalent to traditional slide-based video training. However, VR training presents a measurable positive improvement on trainees’ perception of overall learning, and their feeling of presence in the task during training. It has also been shown that knowledge retention from video lectures can be overestimated, if not controlled. Through these results – and our transferable blueprint for robustly assessing any new VR training platform – we envisage a range of technologically-enabled efforts to enhance safety performance in both laboratory and plant-based activities. Implications for physical resource-saving projects are also described.