An Immersive Virtual Simulation to Assess the Effects of Engaging Tasks on Situational Safety Awareness

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Ebo Kwegyir-AffulJanne HeilalaJussi Kantola

Abstract: Issues about industrial safety during demanding activities are of paramount importance, especially regarding accident prevention. This paper assesses the situational safety awareness (SSA) of two groups of participants in an immersive virtual space according to a task specification. The purpose was to investigate the influence of engaging work exposure on their SSA while conducting plant maintenance activities in the virtual space. The maintenance activity involved changing the engine filter of a gas-powered engine in a computer-based simulation environment. For the procedure, the virtual reality-accident causation model (VR-ACM) comprising 3-D modelling and simulation, accident scenario, and safety assessment was employed for the experiment. Two groups of participants undertook the experiment and provided simulation data and perceptual feedback for the assessment. These groups constituted; the experimental group (n=26) engaged with an air filter replacement exercise and the control group (n=26) was not given any responsibility. Questions based on the Slater-Usoh-Steed (SUS) questionnaire which accesses the three themes of presence was employed for measuring the SSA experienced in the virtual space. The three assessment themes include the potential to perceive hazardous conditions, comprehension of the conditions, and the ability to project lessons in the likely event of the situation arising. This measurement was to evaluate participants’ perception of the virtual space, as the dominant reality rather than their actual location. Despite the substantial levels of presence demonstrated by both participating groups according to the results, the mean evacuation duration of those with the activity (M = 82.42, SD = 18.01) compared to those without the activity (M = 64.58, SD = 18.34) demonstrated a statistically significant difference, t (52) = 3.26, p = .001 in the influence of the working activity to a lesser SSA in the virtual space.

Keywords: Virtual reality, 3D simulation, Situational Safety Awareness, Presence, Work exposure.

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003871

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