How technology is revolutionizing MEWP training

Gone are the days of grease-stained manuals and pencil-marked scantron tests. The access and rental industry is undergoing a digital revolution, with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) emerging as new add-ons and options within MEWP training.

genie, ar training, vr training, scissor training, boom lift training, safety and training, working at height, work at height, access equipment Scott Owyen, director of training, Genie. (Photo: Genie)
working at height, work at height, access equipment, rental equipment, aerials

“Technology is expanding our ability to learn and make meaningful connections that can keep operators safer on the jobsite,” explains Scott Owyen, Genie’s director of training. “Imagine the ability to make a mistake and learn from mistakes that can cause a MEWP accident, without getting hurt. Virtual reality makes this possible.”

Owyen will discuss exactly how MEWP training is evolving during his presentation, “How technology is changing the way MEWP training is delivered,” at this year’s Working at Height Conference & Awards, Nov. 20, in Nashville.

Owyen will pull from his more than four decades with Genie, including the last 15 in training, to give attendees a deep look into current – and future – means of MEWP training.

“Technology is making high-quality MEWP training more accessible and more affordable to more people,” he says. “Meeting platforms like Teams and Zoom allow us to interact in person, from different locations, without sacrificing meaningful interaction between learners and trainers. Beyond that, virtual reality is opening up new opportunities to enrich learning and make it even more accessible.”

Owyen has been responsible for overseeing the development of Genie Lift Pro operator training and the company’s Train-the-Trainer courses, to which he applied adult learning theories to make the material engaging and interactive. Since launching Genie’s online training courses, Owyen and his team have been directly responsible for training more than 120,000 people around the world.

He also was instrumental in developing Genie’s new virtual reality training tool, Genie VR training, which was launched at the ARA Show earlier this year. Genie VR training complements classroom and hands-on training and gives operators the chance to learn how to avoid real-world MEWP operational hazards from the safety of a virtual world.

from the future, genie, genie vr training, vr training A look at From the Future’s promo module for Genie’s new VR Training program. (Photo: Genie)

“Imagine the ability to make a mistake and learn from mistakes that can cause a MEWP accident, without getting hurt,” Owyen says. “Virtual reality makes this possible. In the past, operators could learn from online and classroom training, but their first opportunity to actually operate a lift required them to get into a lift.

Today, VR makes it possible to get realistic-feeling experience, and learn to avoid real-world hazards that can cause jobsite accidents, from the safety of a virtual world. And, because our brains don’t recognize the difference between virtual and real worlds, it makes this an incredibly emotional and impressionable way to learn.”

Owyen will be joined by a roster of industry experts for the day-long working at height safety conference created jointly by Access, Lift & Handlers and the International Powered Access Federation. Additional speakers and topics include:

  • John W. McClelland, Ph.D. – “Rental industry market update and forecast”
  • TJ Lyons, CRIS, OHST, CSP – “MEWP incident prevention through machine design”
  • Bart Krzysztofek – “Selecting the right PFPE”
  • Tony Groat – “Exiting at height – how to be compliant”
  • Shashank Bhatia – Presentation title TBD
  • Keynote address from one the world’s largest equipment rental companies
  • Panel: Cultivating a safety culture
  • Panel: Technology’s role in working at height
  • MEWP accident statistics: How does the U.S. measure up?

For more information and to register, click here.

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