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Virtual reality company aims to curb manufacturing worker deaths

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were as many as 2.8 million workers that were hurt on the job in 2017. One of the most dangerous industries to work in is manufacturing. Some 40 percent of workers are hurt during their first 12 months on the job and over 60 percent of those are injured during the first three months. Most injuries occur because of a lack of on-the-job training.

One tech entrepreneur is trying to change those statistics.

The entrepreneur and his friend both went to work in manufacturing in 2007. By 2013, his buddy had followed his supervisor when he left to go work on an oil rig. The friend and his boss were given very little training regarding oil and gas engineering. Soon after starting his new job, the man's friend opened a valve so it could collect steam and it exploded, killing him and his boss and injuring 165 others.

Since losing his friend, this man has been motivated to find a way to minimize similar senseless incidents. He has since founded 3D Media, a virtual reality company that uses realistic simulations to help oil, gas and energy manufacturing companies train their employees. This is a nuanced approach compared to the PowerPoint slides and risky on-the-job training that has historically been used to teach workers how to perform their jobs.

He notes that the technology that he's developed has the potential of allowing employers to test workers using real-life situations to see what decisions they'd ultimately make under potentially risky circumstances. It also has the potential of helping Tennessee workers keep certain knowledge of how to do things active, especially if they're called to use it infrequently.

In the future, the company expects to be able to create real-life simulated environments of the actual workplaces of the clients that they serve. They also hope to conduct studies to show just how effective the use of this technology is at reducing workplace accidents.

When Knoxville workers are injured, many don't know the first steps that they should take right after being injured at work. An attorney can advise you and help you understand what may qualify you to receive workers' compensation or Social Security Disability payments.

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