Oct 17, 2019
Mobile games promote sustained usage by promising rewards, levels, and bonuses for clearing hurdles and safety challenges placed throughout the game. Construction managers are realizing younger generations’ interest in these kinds of games, especially on mobile devices, to recruit and promote safety training through educational construction applications.
Simcoach, an educational app developer based out of Pittsburgh creating educational apps for over a decade, has partnered with local contracting organizations, such as the Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania (CAWP), to help educate young construction workers on the fundamentals of onsite safety training and equipment usage.
Simcoach’s games teach construction recruits about operating on a construction site, such as using heavy machinery. If players do well, they earn medals, which can lead to a certification that helps them find an apprenticeship in the construction industry.
One safety training game, Harness Hero, teaches about equipment safety for high-rise construction projects. The player guides an avatar as she or he chooses the right rigging for unique high-rise construction situations. Unlike on a real construction site, the game challenges players to launch themselves off a roof. If they’ve rigged themselves up correctly, and avoid plunging to the ground below, they get points.
Simcoach teamed with CAWP — in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Ladders of Opportunity program and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation — as a piece of its Future Road Builders construction recruitment. The games, which are focused on recruiting new people to transportation construction careers and safety leadership, have nearly 130,000 downloads from CAWP’s site alone.
Simcoach and CAWP also explore methods to thoroughly recruit enthusiastic high schoolers to the construction industry, said Richard Barcaskey, the executive director of CAWP. All told, including mini-games, about four to five hours of content is accessible, and it’s all replayable with various results and scenarios.
"Replayability is key", Trybus said. "Mastering safety training by watching doesn’t stick as much as when the user can replay the same scenario over and over again."
Mark Ogg, senior project manager with real estate company JLL, said he has used Simcoach’s Harness Hero to help sustain safety training for construction workers who have already been trained. Ogg was first introduced to gamification in construction safety by Namian while seeking a masters degree at ECU.
Ogg spoke at the Construct Conference held in National Harbor, Maryland, about the use of gamification on construction worksites. In his experience, no matter how much training and supervision a worker receives, human fault can lead to senseless mistakes. This is where innovative, safety leadership comes to play.
For example, on a recent R&D facility construction project, Ogg awarded a $100 Amazon gift card to the worker who scored the highest on Harness Hero. The prize and game grabbed everyone’s attention, and the construction workers spent time playing the game during their lunch breaks.
Ogg said the competition quickly raised awareness onsite, as workers advised each other which harnesses to use during high-elevation work.
"The elements of gamification that provide a source of motivation or achievement are helping the industry, across all realms, operate more effectively and most importantly safely," he said.
Mobile games encourage continued usage by promising prizes, levels and rewards for advancing through challenges. Construction managers are capitalizing on younger generations’ interest in these types of games, especially on mobile platforms, to recruit and promote safety through educational construction apps.
Simcoach, a Pittsburgh-based educational app developer that has been creating educational apps for about 15 years, has partnered with local contracting associations, such as the Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania (CAWP), to help teach young, potential construction workers the basics of onsite safety and equipment usage.