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Phillips 66 Humber Refinery takes ‘major leap’ with high-tech training

Safety training at the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery just got a modern boost.

Earlier this year, the U.K. refinery completed construction on a new state-of-the-art training facility — a warehouse-size building equipped with hands-on training tools and a virtual reality room, among other modern technologies. It is believed to be the first such training facility in the United Kingdom.

“This is a major leap away from the traditional PowerPoint method of safety training, and is a more strategic way to get people tuned in to the safety culture we want to see here at the refinery,” said Humber Refinery Lead Executive for the U.K. and General Manager Darren Cunningham.

The facility isn’t just for new trainees. Existing employees and contractors are also being given the opportunity to go through the new training.

10 Life Saving Rules

The new training facility was designed around Phillips 66’s 10 Life Saving Rules, which are meant to enhance employee and contractor safety with easy-to-remember language and graphics. The facility houses 10 large bays, one for each of the rules. There, employees and contractors can interact with staged safety scenarios and identify potential hazards before stepping foot in the actual refinery.

At one bay, trainees can go up a two-story structure and observe proper lifting practices and ways to prepare for working at heights, including using netting and other safety equipment. Other bays at the facility demonstrate how to properly plan and execute hot work, such as controlling combustible or flammable materials, and how to work safely in confined spaces.

Virtual reality in ‘The Cave’

But arguably the most engaging part of the new facility: The Cave.

The Cave is a virtual reality room with floor-to-ceiling screens to give trainees the sense that they are walking through the refinery. Trainees are then given a tablet to interact with the virtual screens and identify hazards.

“You get far more involved,” said Simon Ashdown, a Humber Refinery contractor who completed the training in July. “You get to go around and see things that you’re actually going to see out on-site.”

The Cave was also designed with other uses in mind. It can be used for firefighting training, as an emergency command center or for hosting meetings using a multiwindow system like Webex.