Virtual Reality Training Can Prepare Employees for the Most Dangerous Jobs

Designing Digitally


Employee training has become a key element to business success in today's fast-growing global economy. Most companies are jumping on board the Learning and Development (L&D) train regardless of the industry. This is particularly true of organizations that hire personnel for what might be considered unsafe jobs. 

Proper training is critical when preparing employees for high-risk job circumstances. Education, retail, healthcare, architecture, and tourism industries can benefit from virtual reality training. But, the industries with the most dangerous jobs, like automotive, oil & gas, construction, and aerospace, need VR the most.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulation-based experience immersing a user in a life-like or full-fantasy environment. There are also augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), sometimes called extended reality (XR).

AR primarily uses handheld devices and involves computer-generated information superimposed on real-world objects to learn more about those objects or machines. MR combines VR, AR, and the real world, resulting in highly interactive applications and new environments.

VR generally depends on a headset that provides visual, auditory, and sometimes even physical sensations to create a realistic experience for the user; however, headset-free options are becoming more available today. A user or learner can also interact with a virtual environment by entering a VR room. This room usually consists of large screens which project the virtual world.

Virtual reality training has become very popular in recent years because it eliminates risk from risk-prone training situations. Keeping your employees safe is always the top priority. Therefore using VR in your employee training efforts ensures 100% safety and a high degree of knowledge retention.

The Benefits of Virtual Reality for Training Employees

  1. VR takes the risk out of the equation

Keeping your employees safe is your number one priority when working with potentially dangerous machinery and gear. What can be safer for a new employee than learning everything they need to know before ever touching the equipment?

Using virtual reality for training employees in the construction sector, for example, enables employees to go through all the technical training risk-free. They can review and retake training modules as many times as needed until they are confident with what they have learned. Dangerous tasks that would require hours of practice can be easily practiced in the training's virtual environment.

Aside from removing the possibility of injury, VR training removes the fear of failure. Employees can go at their own pace and access the training in their own time. They can go back and redo any of the modules and test their knowledge. This makes for a relaxed learning experience and ensures higher course completion.

  1. Virtual reality training is highly immersive

This makes the learning experience easy to scale and cost-effective for the employer. On the employee end, VR not only makes the learning environment safer and highly immersive, leading to higher knowledge retention and quick skill-building. Onboarding a factory worker for example, can easily be done through e-Learning and VR.

New employees get to learn about the various moving parts of their jobs without having to actually touch a piece of machinery, before they are knowledgeable enough to do so. This means removing the risk of injury for the employee as well as saving money on potential damages a new worker can cause to the machines.

A VR learning module ensures that learners can retake any lesson as many times as they need to efficiently incorporate new concepts and skills. The immersion component leads to higher knowledge retention as is overall a more powerful training tool.

  1. VR helps keep learners safe regardless of industry

The industries that report on the job accidents are essentially the same ones year after year. Meat processing plants, car manufacturers, airports, chemical processing plants, construction, mining, and the military are the main offenders.

The aviation industry has been using VR simulators for decades. Now, new, inexpensive, and highly immersive VR technologies are beginning to infiltrate these human-labor-intensive industries.

In 2016, Invensys created a training program called the Immersive Virtual Reality Plant. This VR experience allowed new trainees to go through high risk scenarios and figure out the safest response without any added risk to their lives or the potential of damaging equipment.

The biggest risks to people working in the construction field are falling objects and falling from great heights. These mistakes can lead to lost lives as well as damages to construction sites and suspension of work. All of these usually lead to huge monetary losses to the company as well as leaving the rest of your workforce without work for an unknown period of time. Virtual Reality training gets workers as close as possible to experiencing high-risk situations. An effective VR program instructs them as to what the appropriate responses should be in case something goes awry.

For mine workers, navigating high-risk situations due to human error, structural issues, and natural events can mean the difference between life an death. Working in a mine means knowing exactly what to do in case of trouble. Taking into consideration the lack of safety exits and unpredictability of this type of work, points to the benefits of using VR for training employees.

Whether your work is military-related or in mining, having the right emergency response can lead to safety or disaster. VR helps employees in high-risk occupations learn the proper safety sequences required in very specific emergencies. The repeatability of VR learning programs allows employees to go through each lesson as often as needed. Learners can choose different reactions to see various outcomes for the same simulated scenario. This process increases safety and prepares employees to handle workplace crises calmly, trusting their training and acquired knowledge.


The construction, oil & gas, aerospace, automotive, and many other industries are all starting to take advantage of the benefits VR training can bring to dangerous jobs. A virtual reality training module helps learners stay engaged due to its immersive qualities. Learners will increase their retention, and by working through job-related tasks in a VR environment, their productivity will also improve. Adopting VR for employee training early on will yield long-range benefits for any size business in any sector.

At Designing Digitally, we work with companies and government agencies to develop employee performance improvement solutions across the adult training space. One of our areas of expertise includes Virtual Realty solutions that offer an authentic learning experience while keeping employees safe and eliminating possible damages. Our VR learning solutions use xAPI tracking to measure learning results and collect ongoing training data. If you are interested in discussing a virtual reality simulation for your learners, get in touch with our team today.