Safety Videos

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From the 1950’s to our YouTube era, the work safety video has been part of the work landscape. Some are better than others, but here are a few that have caught our eye in the last while for one reason or another.

Safety Starts With Me!

This low budget safety video is as fun as it is kitschy.

It was submitted for the “Safety Starts with Me Competition 2009” (organized by the Workplace Safety and Health Council, Singapore).

It didn’t win. While the video doesn’t offer any new info into the world of safety there’s definitely something undeniably catchy about it. Also: Everyone dances – a lot!

Highlights include:

1. Song lyrics like: “Don’t you look away to that pretty young maid/Keep your eyes focused on the job instead”
2. Safety tips that advise not to use a handsaw as a hammer
3. Choreographed moves that include dancing with a power drill made out of paper

If nothing else, we dare you not to find yourself humming the theme song later in the day.

Donald Duck – How To Have An Accident At Work

Cartoons have long been a staple of the training film genre and this 1959 film teaches us that while ducks may be maniacally responsible when it comes to safety around the house – around the workplace, meh, not so much…

When Donald arrives at the plant “he checks in and his mind checks out.” This is the point in the film where Mr. Duck literally turns off his gray matter and starts looking like a featherbrained mallard that’s coming off a three day binge.

Next thing we know, Donald is refusing to wear his PPE (“Aw phooey on all that unnecessary equipment!”) and falling down the stairs. From there he’s dropping his cigars in paint thinner; daydreaming on the job; shamelessly leering at women (and he’s a married duck!), and enduring run-ins with a punch press, conveyor belt and a monkey wrench. Oh, that Donald!

A product of its time, it’s a fascinating look at how earlier cartoons were used to disseminate the safety message.

The Pain Game

WorkSafe Victoria makes some of the finest safety videos out there.

Whether it’s hitting the funny bone at just the right angle with the dark humour in The Pain Game or effectively tugging at the heartstrings and focusing on the aftermath of a tragic accident, WorkSafe constantly deliver top-drawer safety videos.

Think About This

There is no denying that this is one violent safety video.

Screaming workers are crushed, mutilated, and blown up. Their skin is sliced, diced, and doused in toxic chemicals. Fingers are lost, toes are severed, and skulls are crushed

Also a product of its time, I half expected an army of zombies to arrive and start feasting on the corpses scattered on the plant’s floor.

But do these scare tactics work? Some safety experts love them, although many others say that, for the most part, the science suggests that trying to scare people into adopting better safety habits doesn’t work.

Professor Cathy Denomme from Algoma University says that her survey results indicate that people remember the gore but not the message. She says a series of gruesome ads that were run on TV a few years ago, “gave me nightmares,” she adds “The students didn’t even remember what the message was about. In my opinion we need to take a different tactic. Young people truly believe two things: first, it won’t happen to them, and second, adults will not put them in a position where they could get hurt. Both not true.”

Dumb Ways To Die

This animated train safety video for Metro Trains Melbourne has gone viral (40 million views and counting) and with good reason. It’s very funny and pretty darn cute – even with all the grizzly death (and grizzly bear death, for that matter).

The video has its fans and its detractors. Some think it misses the mark completely and is more concerned with iTunes sales than teaching us about train safety. Others believe it’s an innovative and fresh approach to safety videos. Marie-Claire Ross from Digicast has particularly strong feelings about the video.

There are arguments to be made on both sides. Not many safety videos can boast a viewership of 40 million, so even if a tiny fraction of those viewers get a safety message out of it, it may achieve more than many other safety films.

But its critics do raise a valid point when they say it doesn’t offer any take away message of what to do, only that certain behaviours around trains might get you killed. And without following up that negative message with a replacement behaviour (what to do to be safe), some experts think it missed the boat.

What do you think?

You and Office Safety

This 1950’s office safety film teaches us that the common work office is the most dangerous place in the universe.

The lesson? We’re taught to beware the perils of hot coffee, felt markers, pencils, umbrellas (red and green), typewriters, swinging doors, and actors mugging shamelessly to the camera.

The slapstick factor is set on ultra-high and the film is scored to a cartoon soundtrack that would fit perfectly in Fred Flintstone’s hometown of Bedrock. (Or Donald Duck’s safety film, for that matter.)

Sight gags and physical comedy abound: People get hit by doors – again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Plus more! A “pretty little thing” trips over a floor socket. Filing cabinets are transformed into lethal weapons and deadly office chairs put unsuspecting officer workers in mortal peril.

Meanwhile the lines on the office Efficiency Chart continue to plummet…

It’s a hoot. And in fact, it helped inspire our very own recently released safety video about proper job safety signage.

Got a video you’d like to share with us? We’d love to see it.