This Contractor Loves VR Simulators – Less Damage, Increased Safety, Happier Employees | The Dirt #69

Updated May 2, 2022

OE Construction of Colorado was spending about $60,000 a year repairing damaged equipment. But after training its operators on virtual-reality simulators, it has seen that figure drop to under $5,000.

It’s just one of the many benefits of simulators company co-owner Terri Olson and IT Director Mike Eccher reveal on this episode of The Dirt.

The simulators can be used for training new and veteran operators on a variety of equipment – dozers, wheel loaders, excavators, articulated dump trucks – and jobsite scenarios. It’s not the same as on-the-job training, but OE has found that it speeds up the learning process. New operators who have trained on simulators know how to use the controls and can focus more on their position on the jobsite, to be more aware of meeting production goals and to be safer.

Along with saving on equipment damage, the company has found they are great for employee-retention and recruitment, as well as pre-employment screening. They provide operators with a deeper level of instruction that just can’t be obtained from quick dealer overviews.

OE purchased its first full-size simulator about two and a half years ago and has since added another. It also uses a desktop simulator to show new operators the basic controls. They were initially bought for internal use, but the company has expanded into training other local contractors’ operators.

So check out this episode of The Dirt where they also offer their recommendations for contractors considering buying a simulator and what types of benefits they can expect.

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