The Technologies Research Centre, Ikerlan, is leading the Var Trainer European project, which consists of developing training simulators for handling machinery aimed at workers in the construction sector to avoid risks in the workplace. This initiative is promoted by associations of construction companies and manufacturers from six European countries.
Accidents in the workplace, particularly concentrated on the construction sector, are a cause for concern for public and private agents, and for society in general, which requires measures to reduce the number of accidents occurring during work activities. The Var Trainer project aims to respond to this demand, by designing mechanisms which give appropriate training to workers without requiring the direct use of the machine, but using simulation instruments instead.
Participants from six European countries
This initiative led by Ikerlan-IK4 has a duration of 36 months including the participation of 123 entities related to construction. The Ikerlan Technologies Research Centre is working alongside the National Construction Confederation (CNC) from Spain and other business confederations from Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Poland; associations of machine manufacturers for public works and construction ANMOPYC from Spain and VDMA from Germany; and small and medium sized companies from the construction sector in Italy, Portugal and Navarre. The total participants included in the project is completed with a French company producing simulation and training equipment and two research centres: Fraunhofer-IGD (Germany) and Ikerlan-IK4
The objective of Var Trainer is to create a simulation platform for the work to be carried out by a construction operator which gives appropriate training for personnel without needing to access the machines. This system will be valid for heavy machinery, such as back hoe loaders or dumpers, and also for lifting equipment and aerial work platforms.
For this purpose, the research team works on the design of the three elements making up this system, such as a computer aided training programme, a simulator which is accessed by computer and a simulation platform or cabin where the worker carries out construction work as if they were working on the same machine.
The first phase has consisted of identifying the risk situations associated with working with the machines, both for drivers who drive and handle machines in real working conditions and for worksite personnel who carry out their activity within the machine's action radius. The project participants are currently developing the different parts of the machine simulation platform in order to integrate it, part way through 2006, in Ikerlan-IK4
The Var Trainer project will offer the construction sector a training methodology which is unified throughout Europe in reference to safety when using machinery, in addition to guaranteeing that operators will use apparatus assigned to them to develop their activity correctly and without incurring risks on their physical integrity.