New York 811 brings VR safety training to the Hicksville Water District

Hicksville Water District employees received enhanced safety training last week via a virtual reality program created by Bohemia-based New York 811.

The nonprofit organization New York 811 is focused on ensuring that excavations and excavations are conducted safely by utilities and contractors, individuals, private excavators, and the public.

The training session, led by New York 811 staff, placed crews of two from the Hicksville Water District in the mobile virtual simulator, with one member seated in a realistic mockup of a dredge cockpit with working controls. The second crew member used VR gloves to control and monitor the activities of the virtual excavator operator. Both crew members are in a realistic 360-degree virtual environment that looks almost identical to real streets and neighborhoods on Long Island or New York City.

The water district staff, presented with a number of different scenarios during the training, work together to complete a project and the evaluators provide feedback based on their performance. The goal of the simulator is to collect data that will be shared to improve training and reduce the number of incidents that occur across the region each year, New York 811 said in a statement.

“The safety of our workers and local residents is our number one concern. The VR simulator is realistic and allows staff to reinforce safety training and procedures,” Hicksville Water District Commissioner William Schuckmann said in the statement. “The VR experience offers users a real experience. The excavator even wobbles when the bucket touches the ground. New York 811 has developed technology that will help our district employees stay safe and limit accidents and costly damage to critical utilities across the region.”

READ :  Magic Leap's CEO says it would actually be a good thing if Apple became a rival in augmented reality

New York 811 executive Roger Sampson said it was dangerous to dig anywhere on Long Island without knowing what’s underground.

“It is important and required by law that contractors, utilities and the public call 811 or contact us at 811 in New York so we can have subway lines marked,” Sampson said in the statement. “It is also important that those who operate excavators and backhoes receive ongoing training and focus on safety. With our VR-X simulator technology, we are providing a new tool to amplify training, collect data and advance our mission to improve safety and prevent accidents.”

Established in 1990, New York 811 serves as a communications link between utility companies and individuals planning digging or excavation activities in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties. State law requires excavators and contractors to contact the New York 811 at least 48 hours but no more than 10 business days prior to beginning any mechanized digging or excavation work to ensure underground utilities are marked.

Later this week, New York 811 will host a virtual reality training session with National Grid staff.