Biomedical Sciences and Visualization

Using Virtual Simulations for Evaluating Safe Practice for Tractor Certification

Sponsor: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)/Center for Disease Control (CDC)


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In collaboration with the School of Public Health in the College of Medicine and the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Extension at The Ohio State University, researchers at OSC are involved in a project sponsored by NIOSH to evaluate Ohio's Tractor Certification Program. Through the use of virtual simulation, researchers will investigate the feasibility of employing virtual simulations of farm equipment operation as a method to assess effectiveness of youth-oriented agricultural safety programs such as the Ohio Tractor and Machinery Certification Program. The objectives for this aspect of the project are as follows: 1) specify system hardware components and software to create a cost-efficient pilot system to augment current teaching, learning, and assessment, 2) integrate and develop the system for use in field instruction; and 3) evaluate the efficacy of the system as an information delivery system, as a method that provides a valuable experience to the student, and as a tool for assessing user performance. Limitations of current practice preclude testing for proper safe attitudes in a quantifiable way. Not only must the user have adequate knowledge of vehicle components, but he or she must also be able to properly handle the vehicle, including the proper sequencing of operations in many different and possibly adverse conditions. In actual testing, it is impossible to subject the user to a dangerous situation for the purpose of conducting an evaluation. This is the key advantage of simulation technology. Through virtual simulation technology, the evaluator controls the environment to test how the users handle themselves in situations that might trigger potentially injury-producing events. This advantage will be exploited for this application.

We would like to thank the John Deere Tractor Company for providing the CAD information of a John Deere 8400, the John Deere Training Center in Plain City, Ohio for additional information regarding the tractors, and Dr. Judy M. Vance at Iowa State University for the CAD data used in the virtual environment.

Further Reading
Developing Virtual Simulation of Tractor Operation for Assessing Safe Behavior Among Youthful Operators. Stredney D, Sessanna D, Bryan J, Wilkins J, bean T, Abstract: Agricultural Safety & health in a New Century, April 28-30, 2000, Sponsored by CDCP, NIOSH. pg 30.

Employing Virtual Reality Simulations of Agricultural Tractor Operation for Accessing Safe Behavior Among Youth - A Feasibility Study, Stredney D, Sessanna D, Bryan J, Heany C, Bean T and JR Wilkins, Abstract in NOIRS 2000, National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. pg. 60.