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“Serious Game about Safety” 

Online game as part of safety days

Safety is an important issue for GMB and for several years now, we have been privileged to support them in their annual “safety days”. As an organisation, GMB specialises in water safety, water quality, bioenergy, industrial construction and infrastructure. While developing a surprising new programme is a fun challenge each year, the circumstances during the pandemic led us to give the programme a complete makeover. We created an extra challenge for skilled workers (the majority of GMB’s workforce), who mainly work outside in the field. Online! We went for it!   


How can you increase the safety awareness of practical GMB workers online in a fun and educational way? We quickly came up with the idea of a game, because we like playfulness and action. Serious gaming encourages doing and experiencing: exactly what we wanted to achieve with and for GMB. We enlisted the expertise of Goudvisie (content) and Goal043 (technology and design) to develop a serious game together.    


Together with Goudvisie and the QHSE coordinators at GMB, we started laying a substantive foundation. What do we want to focus on in the game? How do we challenge participants in terms of knowledge and skills but also cooperation? It was also interesting to make visible the behavioural patterns that make it difficult for employees to work safely. Where employees perform their work on autopilot day in, day out, occupational blindness can result in unsafe situations. Time pressure was therefore a trigger to evoke and challenge the sense of “just doing a procedure as quickly as possible”.  

To pull all the ideas together for the game, we created a storyline with an appropriate assignment for the participants: As a team, make sure you make the best impression on the client and win a new contract for GMB. The game we developed for GMB challenges participants in 90 minutes across eight different levels. Themes covered in the eight levels include:  

  • the error fest: recognising the mistakes and learning that making mistakes is allowed  

  • feedback: speaking to someone about unsafe behaviour and in the process, practising the behaviours that you find difficult when giving feedback  

  • cooperation: moving the shovel from left to right together and finding out that you need everyone to make this happen  

  • different perspectives: looking for people in a simulation room who can provide information about your case. Ask questions of the right people to be able to gather answers from each perspective.  

In the end, we naturally gave the game a typical Federatie touch. Indeed, while going through all the levels, players enter two secret levels where they are challenged, for example in an emergency situation with a performer or subcontractor (an actor). How do you deal with someone who is not wearing their PPE? Or: How do you stand up for a safe choice you have made when someone else is putting pressure on you?  


The game we developed for GMB has become a sustainable intervention that can help employees from across the organisation raise awareness of workplace safety with each other. People are challenged to make well-thought-out choices with each other, to exchange knowledge and insights and to practise new behaviours, making it easier to apply those in their actual work practice.    


We played the game with 300 GMB employees as part of the company’s online “safety days”. Although many of the skilled workers in particular were dreading having to sit there for four hours, most people indicated afterwards that it was not so bad, and that they actually found the game to be a lot of fun. 


“The pressure you feel in your day-to-day practice became really palpable. The game, based on our experience, is available to all companies in the sector!” said Gerrit-Jan van de Pol (GMB’s general manager). We look back on a very fine and enjoyable collaboration with GMB (the QHSE coordinators who even appeared as real-life avatars in the game), Goudvisie and Goal043!  

Would you like to develop a serious game for your organisation? Contact André at 

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