Using a Simulator for Power Plant Safety Training
The discovery and subsequent harnessing of electricity were among the most significant factors responsible for the rapid evolution of our modern society. The opening of the first generating stations fuelled a second industrial revolution, replacing steam power and opening the door to the many previously unimaginable machines and inventions that have since transformed our lives beyond recognition. Today, the growing hunger for electrical energy continues unabated, driving the need for even more generating facilities and more effective power plant safety training for those who will be necessary to staff them.
Risks and Dangers Involved in the Energy Generation Sector
While the general public remains largely unaware of the fact, the inherent dangers in this industry are manifold. Despite the need for cleaner energy, most generating plants currently operating still depend on the combustion of fossil fuels, primarily coal. The latter, in particular, poses an extreme fire hazard. When coal dust accumulates in the atmosphere, it is prone to spontaneous explosive combustion and can have devastating consequences. Moreover, generating electricity by any means carries the constant risk of electric shock, which can cause severe burns or even death – another reason power plant safety training is so crucial.
Even operating a hydroelectric scheme or servicing a wind turbine carries unique risks that require experienced personnel and careful handling. It is standard practice to appoint a team to keep an eye on things and ensure safe practices. However, all employees must guarantee their day-to-day actions will not endanger themselves or anyone else. While warning notices and supervisors can reinforce the need for caution, only by ensuring all staff are well trained in the necessary precautions can one hope to keep everyone safe.
Main Strengths of Power Plant Safety Training Simulators
Experience shows that employing a simulator for power plant safety training and other forms of instruction is invariably the most practical and effective way to get the job done.
The primary power of a simulation lies in its immersive learning environment. Learners are drawn into the action, much like when playing a popular computer game. A software program recreates all the visual and control features of the live workplace relevant to a given exercise on a monitor screen. The setup allows the trainees to select and perform the required actions and observe the results of their choice with no risk they might compromise power plant safety whilst training.
That said, lectures and demonstrations are not without virtue. They provide the theoretical background and the explanations underlying the various actions they will need to perform at the coalface. However, a simulated learning scenario has numerous advantages when it’s time for the trainees to get some essential hands-on experience. Firstly, it’s a time saver. If you have a large group of trainees, ensuring everyone gets a turn at the controls and receives feedback on their performance can be highly time-consuming. By contrast, a simulated power plant safety training exercise could enable everyone to practice simultaneously via a computer network. Furthermore, it is relatively simple to include added features like hints, questionnaires and performance monitoring in the basic program. These add-ins can further reduce the pressure on the training staff.
While conventional audiovisual material can be effective, it remains limited without the tactile sensations associated with practical activities. One of the greatest strengths of simulated practical instruction is that it involves the use of sight, hearing and touch. Furthermore, nothing reinforces a lesson more effectively than repetition. Using a simulator for power plant safety training allows learners to repeat an action as often as necessary until it becomes a conditioned reflex. That’s precisely the level of response that can often prove crucial in a real-life emergency. Although the incidence of accidents in nuclear-powered generating facilities is markedly lower than in conventionally-fuelled plants, the need for safety measures is even higher. SimGenics is an acknowledged leader in developing simulated learning systems for the electricity generating, mining and petrochemical industries and others. We offer the option to purchase generic and custom-built turnkey simulations or bespoke, specialised software to develop the applications you require in-house. If you wish to learn more about our power plant safety training simulations, we invite you to view them in more detail or contact us.