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Slapstick Safety Videos0

Ah, the safety video.  How many hours have we all endured in front of a screen watching deadpan actors regurgitate details to keep us from being killed in the workplace?  Sure, we learn something from them now and then—but only if we can stay awake.

Someone got the notion to inject humor into these monotonous exercises, which led to some safety videos that are so over-the-top they initially cause a cry of  “Holy S**t!” followed by uncomfortable laughter. 

We all know that we shouldn’t be laughing at these things, but when they turn into slapstick – sort of like The Three Stooges with a larger budget – who can help it? 

Take this commercial (one of a series) from the Workplace Safety Insurance Board of Ontario, Canada:

Horrific?  Yes, with an important message about safety on the construction site.  But the shot of the dummy flying out of the building and smashing to the street is so exaggerated in its violence that I couldn’t help but laugh.  I was somewhat disappointed when the guy didn’t get up, brush the glass shards out of his clothing, and flash a twinkling smile showing how Orbit gum kept his teeth clean during adversity!

Still, I was not prepared for the carnage of this next safety video about construction and other job related injuries:

Egad!  This PSA definitely falls into the category of “unintentionally funny.”  Sure, they want you to PAY ATTENTION WHEN WORKINNG,  but this thing has a body count higher than all of the Rambo films combined!

My particular favorite moment happens at the 3:16 mark.  If I recall there was a Stephen King story about a machine like this that eats people . . .

Lastly, we have a slide show demonstrating just how stupid people can be:

I absolutely love the picture of the guy in shorts and a polo shirt posing next to the biohazard workers.  I think his hair and fingernails probably started falling off a few days later.

From what I can gather, many of these photos come from construction sites in developing nations.  That would explain the somewhat lax (who am I kidding – the insanely lax) safety precautions. 

Am I poo-pooing the concept of the safety video?  No.  Not by a long shot.  I feel that if properly produced, a safety video can be an extremely helpful tool in a variety of work environments—particularly when it comes to home repair, where weekend warriors (like us) tackle projects that we may not quite be ready for.  Most “How-To” videos will have the obligatory safety procedures included to keep you safe when doing a FIY to your house (and as a CYA move for the filmakers.)

Hey, if anyone out there has videos or images of you (or your friends) doing something like we saw above, feel free to send them to us.  Just make sure to blot your face out first!

by John Barker

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