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Virtual forklift program aims to reduce workplace injuries

The notion that computer games might be able to prepare users for real life events has been something that has been around for a few decades now. With advances in computer technology coming fast and furious, new virtual reality tools seem to be being developed for all sorts of industries on almost a weekly basis.

Whether it's a flight simulator or something that might seem more mundane, the goal is to create virtual work scenarios that operators can practice to avoid real-life workplace injuries. Still, as experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorneys know, accidents occur and the long-term effects can be life changing.

In the warehouse, the forklift is one of the tools that can be the source of a great many accidents. But with some funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, one company has developed a virtual training program with the aim of reducing the number of injuries and deaths forklift accidents can cause.

Developers at Tactus Technologies, a New York company, say the initiative applies technologies that have only been available to the military and in universities until very recently to create 3-D forklift simulations. They say the big advantage of the VR tool is that it provides interactive education that's a cut above the typical classroom and video instruction that may be used before a person is allowed behind the wheel of a forklift.

The company says the video game-style training exposes operators to what it's like to steer a lift, use a joystick for hoisting and lowering and to use the pedals on a real device. It also presents them with a variety of situations that might be in a warehouse or other setting of choice. The big advantage to industry, says the company, is that operators get better training to prevent workplace injuries and they get it in less time than usual.

Source:, "Virtual Reality Training Program Created for Forklift Operators," March 11, 2013

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