Safety at work

Qatar rolls out virtual reality training for labour inspectors

In an effort to improve safety and health at work and enhance the capacity of labour inspectors, Qatar’s Ministry of Labour and the ILO designed a virtual reality training which recreates a construction site and common safety and health issues.

News | 01 March 2022

DOHA (ILO News) – In their continued efforts to improve workers’ safety and health at work, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ministry of Labour of Qatar, in cooperation with the ILO International Training Centre (ITCILO), are rolling out an immersive and interactive virtual reality training exercise designed to further enhance the skills and competencies of Qatar’s labour inspectors, to complement traditional training courses.

Equipped with virtual reality device, labour inspectors can explore a virtual environment that simulates a typical construction site in Qatar with life-like accuracy. During the exercise, labour inspectors will have to detect and correct irregularities, hazards, and high-risk behaviours.

Qatar currently has 86 occupational safety & health labour inspectors.

In 2021, they conducted a total of 39,880 inspections, and identified 10,129 infringements.

Since 2018, the ILO has supported training programmes for inspectors in the areas of labour law, inspection techniques, forced labour, investigation of accidents, and more. There have also been ongoing exchanges with labour inspectorates from around the world.
In addition to visually identifying irregularities, inspectors are called to answer questions related to the risks or hazards they were able to detect in the virtual worksite. The questions are designed to help trainees reflect on the relevant occupational safety and health (OSH) regulations and understand why such regulations were created in the first place. The exercise is customizable to different users and settings, and will enable inspectors to better advise employers and workers on workplace safety measures.

According to an ILO report from 2021, falls from height and road traffic accidents were the top causes of severe injuries and fatalities in Qatar, followed by falling objects on worksites. With that in mind, the virtual reality exercise features a total of 40 irregularities hidden in the construction site, simulating those most common causes of occupational accidents and fatalities.

We are excited to introduce technology to spice up the traditional classroom training. The gamification of the training will engage users in new and fun ways – and will help inspectors internalize knowledge on specific safety hazards, but also practices in conducting a real-life field visit"

Max Tuñón, Head of the ILO Project Office in Doha

The trainees are scored at the end of the exercise based on the number of irregularities found and the questions answered.

The virtual reality programme is part of Qatar’s broader effort to strengthen occupational safety and health, both at the policy and strategic levels.

The State of Qatar attaches great importance to occupational safety and health and has developed comprehensive policies, strategies and plans to reduce work-related accidents, injuries and diseases. We attach great importance to keeping our labour inspectors’ skills relevant and up to date, and we welcome any new opportunities to improve their performance"

Mr. Zayed Suhail Al Mazroui, Head of the OSH Unit of the Ministry of Labour of Qatar.
The virtual reality training is set to be rolled out during the first quarter of 2022. It marks an innovative addition to the already robust training programmes provided and planned for Qatar’s labour inspectors by the Ministry of Labour, in cooperation with the ILO Project Office in Doha. The virtual reality training programme can be used by labour inspectorates worldwide, through different ILO partnerships. To ensure broad accessibility, the programme can also be run on a regular computer.

This innovative initiative is a great example of the role technology can play in supporting modern, coherent, and coordinated labour administration and inspection institutions.