Immersive VR technology in use for Malaysian mega railway project's safety training

Updated: November 14, 2021 Source: Xinhua News Agency
fontLarger fontSmaller
CCCC brings in Virtual Reality technology for immersive experience in safety training of the East Coast Rail Link project in Malaysia.

MARAN, Malaysia, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- It was on an elevated scaffold bathing in sunshine, surrounded by an "orchestra piece" of the buzzing noise from the construction site. The droning sound of an operating crane bounced closer and closer, as its jib arm was up in the air lifting a pier, casting shadows on the platform as it drew near to the scaffold.

In a split second, a devastating "accident" happened as the pier fell hard and crashed through the platform, and you fell from heights while the scaffold collapsed.

"Review the accident, or to restart the practice?" An instruction line then popped in front of your eyes, pulling you from a scary virtual scenario back to reality.

This is a short extract of the Virtual Reality (VR) simulation experience at a Safety Training Center of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project Section 6 campsite located in Maran, Pahang, during a media tour.

"You can make a thousand mistakes here, without costing any life, but on site we don't expect them (our workers) to make any mistake," said Mohd Salahuddin Yaakob, the health, safety and environment manager for Section 6 of ECRL project.

In March, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the major contractor for ECRL, launched a Safety Campaign 2021 for the project and soon set up three safety training centers equipped with a combination of VR and physical simulation training in Dungun, Kemaman and Maran.

The VR facility is a new technology that the CCCC brought in, collaborating with third party developers, and setting up nearly 100 potential real-life hazardous onsite situations combined with 3D technology, with detailed review to each cause of accidents.

"We picked the most commonly occurring hazard that covers working at height, confined tunnel space and also near or above water, aiming to train the ECRL project workers in reacting to a comprehensive range of construction conditions," Saluhuddin told Xinhua.

Although the VR simulation is set to be bilingual, giving options of using Chinese or English for the safety training, still CCCC paid extra attention to details by assigning translators for workers from other countries if they are not familiar with both languages.

"We want to do our part better, rest assured that language should not be a barrier to our workers when it comes to the safety training," said Mohamed Arif bin Hassan, the regional health, safety and environment officer for Section 6 of ECRL project.

The safety training also includes physical simulation such as safety helmet crash experience, falling experience, safety harness protection experience and so on, turning safety briefing into hands-on practical sessions, to ensure that the workers acquire proper safety knowledge before they start working on sites.

Up until November 2021, around 350 workers from Section 6 have attended the safety training, and more are aimed to complete the safety training simulation course soon as the COVID-19 pandemic slows down in Malaysia.

Salahuddin further explained, "The most crucial thing is that we want our workers to be confident working with us, knowing that we focus so much on their safety and health besides progress."

The ECRL project has maintained zero Lost Time Injury (LTI) incidents, with a record of 6.75 million working man hours for this year as of October 2021, according to the CCCC. LTI is a crucial indicator that serves as a basic representation of the effectiveness of an organization's safety performance in a construction project.

"By maintaining zero LTI incidents, we hope the public have confidence in the ECRL project, knowing that safety of the public and workers have always been our priority," said Salahuddin.

The progress for the ECRL project is ahead of its timeline, the CCCC said.

The mega railway project ECRL runs from the country's largest transport hub Port Klang and travels across the peninsula to Kelantan state in northeastern Malaysia, which is expected to greatly enhance connectivity and bring more balanced growth to the country by linking its less-developed region on the East Coast to the economic heartland on the West Coast upon its completion in 2026.

Editor: Yu Huichen