November 2009
Volume 61    Issue 11

Enhanced fire escape training for mine workers using virtual reality simulation

Mining Engineering , 2009, Vol. 61, No. 11, pp. 41-41
Orr, T.J.; Mallet, L.G.; Margolis, K.A.


Recent U.S. mine disasters identified a need for improved training of miners in escape from mine fires and explosions. Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Spokane Research Laboratory (SRL) have designed fire-escape training software for use in a mine-safety training course. The software allows four trainees to work together in a virtual world via a computer network. Trainees responded favorably and showed a marked improvement in locating the proper evacuation routes on subsequent trials. In collaboration with the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL), a more elaborate fire evacuation scenario is being developed. Further study is needed to confirm that virtual training will translate to improved safety outcomes in the real world.

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