Nicolas Tarisse, the man in charge of training oil platform workers at TOTAL E&P, is satisfied with the results. “Only intensive training can ensure that our employees can respond correctly to dangerous situations,” he says. However, training workers on remote offshore installations is a laborious and expensive undertaking. That’s why TOTAL uses a new instruction system called the Immersive Training Simulator (ITS). Similar to a computer game, the system is based on a software solution from Siemens known as COMOS Walkinside that enables users to immerse themselves in a virtual model of the platform. Course participants can move freely throughout the virtual environment. They can also talk to one another and work together on a variety of scenarios. Studies prove that such immersive training courses are effective. People are much more likely to remember actions they have performed themselves than those taught in classrooms or shown in videos.
However, ITS is not only used to help people deal with dangerous situations and learn about occupational safety measures. It is also effective in teaching typical work steps and the right way to operate a facility. That way, employees can familiarize themselves with their future working environment long before they actually set foot in a real-life facility. An example of this is TOTAL’s Pazflor platform, for which the crew was able to begin its training while the facility was still under construction. The training sessions in the virtual model reduced the time needed to prepare workers for their tasks, thus helping to put the oil platform off the coast of Angola into operation more than two months earlier than planned.