Roofing Alliance Funds Mississippi State Virtual Reality Safety Research

The Roofing Alliance, the foundation of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) celebrating its 25th year, is funding a research program through Mississippi State University (MSU) for virtual reality and safety research. A team from MSU is working with a Roofing Alliance task force to develop a virtual reality training module that will help the roofing industry focus on ladder safety and overall assessment of rooftop safety.

Roofing Alliance task force members have been holding virtual meetings with the Mississippi State University team as the project progresses. The first steps were to identify topics for the virtual reality module(s) being developed. Two main areas were selected: ladder safety and an overall assessment of rooftop safety. The programs are aimed at new hires and entry-level workers with no prior experience. Participants using VR will experience what it feels like to climb a relatively tall ladder and understand some of the key concepts of ladder safety. The task team has also worked with MSU to develop a BIM model strategy for the research and deliverables.

“It’s intended to be part of a new hire’s onboard training before they actually go up on the roof,” stated Josh Kelly, task force chair. “We provided faculty with some elements that are to be included such as assessing the jobsite for best ladder location, selecting which ladder to use based on building height and weight rating, inspecting the ladder, setting it up and securing it.”

The funding request was submitted by Dr. Saeed Rokooei, an assistant professor at Mississippi State University. The proposal named “Evaluating the Efficacy of Virtual Reality Technology for Improving the Roofing Construction Workers’ Safety” was approved for funding in April of 2020.

For more information on how to submit funding requests, current funding projects or the Roofing Alliance 25th Anniversary contact Bennett Judson, the Roofing Alliance’s executive director, at bjudson@roofingalliance.net or visit www.roofingalliance.net.

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