MCL to impart Virtual Reality-based safety and operational training to 17,000 workforce

Sambalpur: Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) has introduced Virtual Reality (VR)-based skill development programme for providing safety and operational training to 17,000 workforce by year 2026.

The company has earmarked a budget of Rs 6.5 crore for skill enhancement among coal miners as a paradigm shift initiative under Mining 4.0.

 Emphasising on skilled workforce as a key to safe and productive mining operations, Shri Om Prakash Singh, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, said regular training and up gradation of skills is required by leveraging modern cutting-edge technologies to match the advancements and introduction of new technology in mining sector.

“We have strategically planned to upgrade the technical skills of workforce involved in operational activities, including contractors’ workers, to successfully achieve 300 MT coal production by 2026 and enable Coal India achieve 1 BT (billion tonne),” Shri Singh said, that the VR-based training to the workers would save cost and time yet provide impartial and auto-generated feedback on the skills attained by the trainees.

Initiated as a giant step towards digitalisation in business processes, Shri Keshav Rao, Director (Personnel) said, “The introduction of VR-based training for around 17,000 departmental as well as contractors’ employees will serve as a path-breaking initiative to run on 18 training modules leveraging this modern technology”.

MCL, which has been the flag bearer in Coal India for introduction of new technologies in business processes, is moving fast to modernise business operations through coordinated efforts and knowledge-sharing with R&D institutions and industry experts, Shri Rao said.  

In line with the recommendations of Annual Safety Conferences, Shri Rao said the training will focus on both the departmental as well as contractors’ employees engaged in operational activities.

The initiative, spearheaded jointly by the Innovation Cell, Safety & Rescue, Electrical & Mechanical, Excavation and Electronics & Telecommunications departments of MCL, is envisaged to integrate seamless training on 3D simulated VR-platforms and would provide safe training environment to the workers before they actually take up jobs in the coal mines or workshops, all the while mitigating direct exposure to hazardous activities in initial trainings and induction.

M/s Concoct Human Resource Practitioners (CHRP-India) Pvt. Ltd., a Hyderabad-Based Virtual Reality Technology company has been entrusted with the job, through competitive bidding at the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), for development of simulated environment and running the training programme in areas like blasting, mine inspection, electrical safety, working at height, HEMM operation, traffic simulation, engine/transmission maintenance, etc.

MCL, the highest coal producing subsidiary of Coal India with mining operations spread over in Sundergarh, Jharsuguda and Angul districts of Odisha, had produced more than 193 million tonne coal in the last financial year 2022-23. It despatched a record 148 million tonne coal to power plants last year.