TAFE NSW icare Construction Site Safety Working Heights Program

  • 2022

  • Service
    Education Services

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Insurance & Care (icare) NSW

Designed In:


TAFE NSW and icare developed a virtual reality training and learning experience on how to work safely at heights. Developed for construction apprentices to improve learning outcomes and instil positive changes in safety behaviours via the delivery of fully immersive VR training in conjunction with engaging online learning content.

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  • The challenge was aimed to address the root causes of accidents and injuries. Construction and manufacturing organisations account for $384 million in annual physical injuries’ claims in NSW (icare NSW). Data suggests that builders and carpenters between 25-34 years of age working on residential construction sites are at the highest risk of having serious accidents in falls from between 2.1 and 4 meters. The project’s objectives included: To improve the safety knowledge of apprentices To increase apprentice safety work readiness To increase the confidence of teachers using VR technology, training apprentices using VR technology, and support continuing VR training

  • TAFE NSW recognised that traditional training approaches would not deliver the required outcomes, especially when re-creating high-risk, high-consequence learning scenarios. Combining engaging video and interactive content with the immersive and kinesthetic learning environment virtual reality, students were able to apply their new knowledge to simulated scenarios which highlighted the importance of recognising risks onsite and applying the correct knowledge and behaviours to ensure safe outcomes. The project was unique in that it combined social and emotional reflection activities and experiences with technical training, to link actions and decisions to short and longer-term consequences to influence changes in attitudes and behaviours.

  • Both students and teachers benefited from the unique design and delivery of the training. Students who participated reported an 87% increase in safety knowledge and work ready confidence increased to 84% (up from 55%) after the VR training. Teachers are better prepared to deliver this unique type of training with 93% gaining increased confidence in using VR technology. We saw an increase in engagement across all VR participants with 48% indicting they felt that the virtual reality training was more engaging than traditional training We conducted detailed feedback interviews, a sample responses are in the Other Key Features section.

  • Our feedback interviews provided valuable insight into the applicability and acceptance of this new way of teaching. We interviewed students and teachers throughout the program and also had industry stakeholders review the training content, below is a sample of responses: "It's the closest thing you get to being on the job site and it teaches you a lot more than just learning in the classroom" - Apprentice "A really good teaching tool which allows for an introduction to practical training in a no risk environment... Makes practical training safer" - Teacher "One of the best apprentice resources I have seen. Integrated the main causative factors and key messaging for falls in construction" - Industry Stakeholder To increase the importance and relevancy of the content, two icare Worker Care participants (workers who suffered significant workplace injuries) shared their account of their workplace injury (as a result of a fall from height), the impact the injury has had on their livelihood and key safety messages to the apprentices on the importance of being safe in the workplace. This helped surface the 'so what' associated with the content and made the student's learning 'real' through the experiences of others.