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Effective education, or merely cheap scare tactics?
November 17, 2007 11:54 AM   Subscribe

There really are no accidents [NSFW] Talking corpses who had been electrocuted, impaled by steel rods or lacerated by broken glass didn't get the message across. Now, an even more graphic series of ads is spotlighting workplace safety in Ontario and grabbing attention well beyond the province's borders. Ontario's Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) has launched a new (and graphic) campaign to help improve workplace safety. Family Man gets blown off side of building; Forklift driver gets impaled by metal rod; A shop clerk topples off a ladder; An electrocuted corpse speaks at his own funeral

Luckily for the WSIB, there's always YouTube, because the Ontario workplace safety org's site for this campaign is needlessly complicated and Flash-heavy - it's really no accident. Click on "watch-it" to view some of the videos.
posted by KokuRyu (111 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am mildly amused by the "NSFW" on a bunch of work safety ads.

I am also never leaving the confines of my warm comfortable entirely padded bed. NEVER.
posted by Katemonkey at 12:03 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yikes! And I thought the falling off the ladder one wouldn't be too graphic. I was wrong. It definitely gets the message across.
posted by Jess the Mess at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2007


It's going to be effective for people who are already careful, and do nothing for the dumbasses who aren't. The main benefit might be in frightening employers into fixing safety violations... although maybe an ad featuring a lawsuit would be scarier.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like the one about RSI
posted by Flashman at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2007


I guess they'll make an impression on some people, but I have to ask if whatever agency did this thinks people are so goddamn stupid and unimaginative that they can only understand the risks of such things with images and sounds of graphic violence.

The sous chef accident was downright fucking disturbing.
posted by psmealey at 12:09 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Germans have a different take on it.
posted by LordSludge at 12:10 PM on November 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Okay. You know what, you're making it sound kinda lame, so skip ahead to the really dangerous stuff. Like sometimes computers can explode, can they not?
posted by porn in the woods at 12:11 PM on November 17, 2007


Yeah, the sous chef thing is going to bother me for a while.
posted by brundlefly at 12:12 PM on November 17, 2007


That chef commercial was horrifying.
posted by Jairus at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2007


Well as long as they're not showing a nipple or anything, what's the problem? </troll>
posted by LordSludge at 12:18 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not sure the "fun" tag applies here, but whatever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on November 17, 2007


I'd have to do some cybersleuthing to find the images again, but I saw some pretty amazing, no-special-effects this-is-for-real stills of the immediate aftermath of an accident aboard a US Navy ship: One of the deck crew got inattentive when an HH-60's rotor was still rotating, and his buddies are cleaning up the mess. Most of his cerebral cortex was still inside his cranial and quite readily identifiable. I bet NAVAIR saw to it that those pics got widely circulated around the fleet.
posted by pax digita at 12:20 PM on November 17, 2007


I think these ads are excellent because they dramatize the horror of workplace accidents and suggest employers are responsible for anticipating such tragic outcomes in order to prevent them.

The more effective ads are the sous chef and the construction worker ones because the characters are prescient, possessing and sharing knowledge of their imminent demise to a helpless audience. The ads with talking corpses (essentially zombies) are confusing because they suggest the victims are OK, on some level unhurt despite having been mortally wounded.

Such dramatized violence is designed to emotionally (not rationally) affect viewers. Just as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle inspired change in the meat industry, ads that can influence public opinion may lead to changes in public policy.
posted by mistersquid at 12:21 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


No paper cut on the eyeball? Disappointing.
posted by Rumple at 12:25 PM on November 17, 2007


Well as long as they're not showing a nipple or anything, what's the problem?

This is Canada - we don't care about that stuff. I remember moving back to Canada after spending ten years living abroad and being amazed after watching some sex show on basic cable at 9M on a Friday night that showed full frontal nudity.

The only thing you may not do in Canada is insult hockey.

Anyway, marketing is always a tough slog, and the graphic content of the videos is at least getting folks to discuss workplace safety.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:26 PM on November 17, 2007


Oh, fuck, zombies. I didn't even think about that. Now I have to bring a shotgun to work.

Please add zombies tag.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:26 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some meat not cute moments here.
posted by hal9k at 12:26 PM on November 17, 2007


Such dramatized violence

I think part of what made it so disturbing to me was that it didn't look like Hollywood style dramatized violence at all. It looked like unchoreographed *real* violence (the crumpled body of the construction worker falling onto the truck, the woman falling of the ladder into the glass table top).

UGH. DO NOT WANT.
posted by psmealey at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2007


Canada has always had traumatic safety commercials -- I remember them from when I was a kid.

They certainly worked well on me. Whenever I use powertools, anything, I'm careful with eye protection, gloves, electrical things.

These things really do happen. The brother of a friend of mine was careless with a metal ladder the day before his wedding and that was the end of him...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


That's it, I'm never leaving oil on the floor of my kitchen again.
posted by oddman at 12:28 PM on November 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Speaking of hockey, this could be used as-is for the hockey work-safe PSA.
posted by Rumple at 12:31 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Another shows a young chef slipping on grease and dumping a vat of boiling water on herself, leaving her writhing on the kitchen floor while her skin peels off in bloody ribbons. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board says they toned down the actress's screams in editing because they worried they were too upsetting.

Jesus Christ, they toned DOWN those screams? Because they were plenty fucking disturbing as it was.
posted by Dasein at 12:32 PM on November 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


Well what did she expect, starring in a workplace safety commercial? In my opinion she was asking for it.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:33 PM on November 17, 2007 [12 favorites]


This is actually kinda surprising in Canada. Nudity is generally A-OK, dirty words are fine after prime time, but violence tends to be pretty carefully controlled (compared to the US). It may be that norms have been changing while I've been away from the "True North Strong And Free," but this agency must've had a hell of a time to get these ads on TV in Canada.

Now, does anybody have a YouTube link to that horrible, horrible but non-graphic speeding commercial? It aired easily 10 years ago in Ontario, and it scarred me for life.
posted by LMGM at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2007


Holy shit! Those are fucking nuts!
posted by The Straightener at 12:38 PM on November 17, 2007


I'm not even going to look at the sous-chef one now.
I think Astro, the robot who could put his arms back on but we can't so play safe, was scary enough for me.
posted by Flashman at 12:41 PM on November 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


The chef is still screaming. Cute overload now.
posted by Free word order! at 12:44 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


By the way, why would you EVER pick up a 10 gallon pot of boiling water off the burner to move to another area of the kitchen?
posted by psmealey at 12:46 PM on November 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Holy crap! Those are amazing. Beautiful. Perfect.

Having been present at several workplace accidents, (not where you think!) I think that they're entirely appropriate.

That sous chef one just freaked my wife out IN THE NEXT ROOM without even seeing it.

I vote for the ladder one as the most affecting however. The casual way she holds her (broken) wrist is fucked up.

whew!
posted by asavage at 12:50 PM on November 17, 2007


The Chef...so hawt. ow. *runs*
posted by greenskpr at 12:50 PM on November 17, 2007


I remember working with my Dad installing space heaters onto the ceiling of an aircraft hanger. We had set up two stage of scaffolding, and then a fifteen-foot ladder on top of that to reach up their. Of course, I was sent up with a power driver (powered by the wall, not by battery, for lots of torque) to tighten the bolts. Good times.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:51 PM on November 17, 2007


"Up there"...fuck
posted by KokuRyu at 12:51 PM on November 17, 2007


I love how the guy doesn't just get blown off a building, he gets blown off a building and onto the roof of a truck's cab before finally bouncing onto the street. I also love how the woman doesn't just fall off a ladder, she falls off a ladder onto a glass topped coffee table, which is completely obliterated by the force of her impact.

That's some pitch black Nuckian slap stick, right there.
posted by The Straightener at 12:53 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Having been present at several workplace accidents, (not where you think!) I think that they're entirely appropriate.

I think we can all relate to the workplace dangers of exploding thirty gallons of pressurized nitric acid being tossed out of a speeding car.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:55 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


And so my fear of ladders (My sole natural predator, at least in my mind) continues unabated. That sous-chef one was good, too - which is to say, really, really, horrible.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:56 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am so not going to watch any of those videos. I'm creeped out just reading your reactions to them. Skin peeling off! Ick.
posted by octothorpe at 12:58 PM on November 17, 2007


hahaha these are awesome. i mean... awesomely informative
posted by jcruelty at 12:58 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


By the way, why would you EVER pick up a 10 gallon pot of boiling water off the burner to move to another area of the kitchen?

Empty the pot/need the burner, maybe.

*Shudders*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:03 PM on November 17, 2007


Amazing post KokuRyu, and I think it's an effective advertising campaign. The images stay with you and the message hits home. As someone who has worked directly with molten metal in a foundry for years, I know terrible injuries happen. I know some supervisors care more about production than worker safety.

I say they should run this campaign during hockey games and late night television- the hours that blue collar workers watch. Maybe it'll save someone's life.
posted by survivorman at 1:05 PM on November 17, 2007


psmealy: I think that it's supposed to be oil ("they should never put the deep fryer so far THUNK SCREAM"). Maybe to dispose of whatever is in it? I'm going to increase the paranoia level by 2 on making sure that all kitchen floor spills are cleaned immediately.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:08 PM on November 17, 2007


I'm creeped out just reading your reactions to them.

They weren't as horror-inducing as I was afraid they would be from the comments here (although def. disturbing). The real horror comes from scrolling down to look at the youtube comments, something that I do not know why I continue to do after promising myself many times that I will quit doing.
posted by frobozz at 1:11 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well... I was in a good mood a few minutes ago...

Those are phenomenally effective, in my opinion, and the masochistic part of my brain made me watch them all - and the sous-chef one twice (dear god why?)

I was doing a theatrical lighting hang the last couple of weekends, and kept trying to be the one impressing the rest of the crew with high-flying fearlessness. Next time, I'll probably stick to all possible precautions.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:11 PM on November 17, 2007


The main benefit might be in frightening employers into fixing safety violations

As gratuitous as the ads were, I find their message to be pretty even-handed. It is trying to indicate that all workplace "accidents" are caused by some combination of employer negligence and employee carelessness. I can definitely get behind the idea that all parties need to be mindful/vigilant about workplace safety, and if this contributes to that, then job well done.

/Goes back to trying to scrub image of burned and screaming sous-chef from brain.
posted by psmealey at 1:11 PM on November 17, 2007


I've seen a lot in my lifetime, but I found the sous chef accident really, really freaky.

Maybe I should get some fresh air now.
posted by survivorman at 1:12 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. One of the best MeFi posts I've seen in awhile.

Being from a company in the US that could really use something this poignant and real to show to our workplace clients, I applaud the effort of the WSIB. I would love to use these. Sadly, I think we'd then have to pay for sensitivity training. Stupid hyper-sensitivity!!!
posted by thewalrusispaul at 1:19 PM on November 17, 2007


eeeek, eeek, eeek, these are totally horrific and I can't watch them all at once because I am so disturbed. I will be eager to see how effective they are in terms of reducing injuries.

I have worked in insurance and seen the toll that work accidents can take not just on the injured worker but the co-workers and employers. Witnessing an amputation or a degloving can result in instant PTSD, man. How would you like to see a machine eat the leg off a coworker and then have to return to using that same machine a few days later? (I am fortunate in not having had any first hand experience as a witness).

This account of being scalped by a machine is one of the most horrific first hand accounts of a work injury I have ever heard. Not for the squeamish.

Sadly enough, some of the safest workplaces are those where a death previously occurred. Many employers think that a certain number of work accidents are just inevitable. Some of the same employers expect zero-defect in production quality, and don't see the disconnect. Employers and workers need to have a zero-tolerance attitude about work injuries. If these help keep people safer, all the better. They make me want my mommy.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:29 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Chef was enough for me.

Normally I'm against fear mongering here, but in this case, I mean, those things really do happen and can be avoided easily.
posted by delmoi at 1:35 PM on November 17, 2007


Sadly, I think we'd then have to pay for sensitivity training.

I have developed a very cost-effective curriculum (not yet approved by HR) for my own team's sensitivity training, I tell them: "Think before you speak, and don't be a jackass."
posted by psmealey at 1:36 PM on November 17, 2007


I'm not even half-way through that piece and I'm... it's... wow. Just wow. Thanks, mjjj.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:41 PM on November 17, 2007


*puts sandwich away for when appetite returns*
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:44 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


The real horror comes from scrolling down to look at the youtube comments, something that I do not know why I continue to do after promising myself many times that I will quit doing.

You want the Hide YouTube Comments userscript for Greasemonkey. I'm so glad I installed it. (Mine only activates for www.youtube.com addresses -- if I really want to see the comments for some reason, I just trim the www off the url.) They're always trainwrecks.

Somehow these weren't as horrific as I thought they might be, even after watching them. They were creepy, and I agree the "zombie" ones are somehow less effective than the "la-de-da OOPS" ones.

As far as personal safety, I do a lot of property maintenance/renovation work and I'm getting ready to cut a couple of major branches off trees. Now, one of the best and most conscientious fellows I know is a carpenter. When he was working for us (I was a kid) he cut his thumb off with a table saw in our basement, and this spring (after no accidents in 20+ years) he got whacked in the face with a piece of wood from a table saw, requiring multiple plastic surgeries. Gives me pause. I try to use safety equipment but I do feel the pull of "just reach over and do that ..." which works often enough that it gets psychologically reinforced. (Google intermittent stimuli.) I have a gutter to patch yet this year and at least I can work by laying flat on the roof. But trimming the tree, I'm going to use scaffolding and/or a safety harness. Again, it seems like once I'm up there, it should be just a minute of cutting and I'm done. But that's the most dangerous time, when I'm concentrating on the task.
posted by dhartung at 1:46 PM on November 17, 2007


LMGM - Can't remember the Ontario drinking and driving commercial, but here's two from BC. Minivan, and Walk.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:56 PM on November 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


These are all fake, right?
posted by cashman at 1:56 PM on November 17, 2007


I think part of what made it so disturbing to me was that it didn't look like Hollywood style dramatized violence at all. It looked like unchoreographed *real* violence (the crumpled body of the construction worker falling onto the truck, the woman falling of the ladder into the glass table top).

Yes. Exactly right. I think, if you haven't experienced an accident of witnessed violence-- and many of us are fortunate enough to say we haven't-- the speed and shock of it are unexpected. In movies, violence happens in slow motion, and we can study it; there's always time for the hero to jump out of the way or perform other physically impossible feats. But in life, and in these commercials, we are reminded that accidents, and death, can take place in half a second.
posted by jokeefe at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ya, the chef one still gets me. It's better when you see it on TV, in all it's large-size glory. I think what makes it effective is the quick glimpse of gore at the end, just a fraction of a second and then cut to black. They show that one a lot here.
However, the first time I saw the ladder one, I laughed out loud, it was so unexpected.

I still get chills thinking about the one from when I was a kid, the guy hits a spike with a hammer and a tiny chip of metal comes flying off, in slow motion, right into his eye. AHHH!!!
We've got it, let's use it was the slogan, I believe.
posted by chococat at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2007


And mjjj, that article is amazing. If you're squeamish, like me, you can skip over the blow by blow of the accident and just read the part about the aftermath-- absolutely compelling, especially the near-death experience.
posted by jokeefe at 2:20 PM on November 17, 2007


What most fascinates me about these ads is that, in most of them, the doomed character blames both the management and themselves just prior to the incident in question. I'd like to see someone cheerfully talking about trying to take off a day early this week to spend time with their kid for a little catch, only they won't be able to do that because the workplace fumes that the company said were "safe" have left him with a tumor the size of an apple in his lungs.
posted by adipocere at 2:24 PM on November 17, 2007


I think I need to go have a cry now. That chef one... whew. And I'm not even going to read mjjj's link. Someone recently died at my step-dad's work - he got dismembered by a machine at the mill while performing maintenance on it.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:26 PM on November 17, 2007


Eeesh! I was way too stoned to watch that sous-chef ad...I'm still shaking! I don't see why they had to make them so awful - did we really need to see the blistering flesh? Really?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:32 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wait...they're showing these on TV? I can just imagine all of the traumatized kids that won't come in the kitchen anymore.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2007


Just in case Cute Overload isn't enough to cheer you up, here's YouTube Jesus...
posted by KokuRyu at 2:36 PM on November 17, 2007


Metafilter: I was way too stoned
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:37 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Zack - you gotta love budget BC ads - at the beginning of the Walk one, you can see the cameraman's shadow on the ground.
posted by Dasein at 2:38 PM on November 17, 2007


One of the deaths in Sleepaway Camp was similar to the "Chef" experience.

Also, I have been witness to how hi-lo/ forklifts can be extremely dangerous. I once worked in a flagpole manufacturing company (they also made light-poles).

There's an expression regarding forklifts that goes "low and slow," meaning keep the load as close to the ground as possible, and don't zip around. That couldn't be more true. The building I worked in was the size of a small airplane hangar, with a monorail crane and a giant oven (for tempering/ annealing).

Related side note: I read once about a man that was caught in one of those ovens in Ohio or somewhere, he was cleaning and it closed and locked automatically. They heat up slowly over a course of several hours, and eventually get up to 600° or so. It was a long holiday weekend, and so they didn't find him until Tuesday or something. Some of the insulation had been ripped out from the inside. Talk about nightmarish.

So anyway, this guy is carrying a load of ~30 aluminum poles from one side of the warehouse to the other on the forklift, and he's got the load ALLLLL the way up. These poles are 30 feet long and weigh 200 lbs. apiece. They are loosely bundled together with rope, but not much else. A couple of people call over to him "hey, you should drop that down," or something along those lines, which he dismissed.

Halfway between one end of the warehouse and the other is a thin crack in the poured-concrete floor. It's like a half-an-inch wide, and runs all the way across the floor. I'm sure some of you are familiar with this; they exist in most large concrete floors, it's an expansion issue. Look around the next time you're in a Sam's Club or CostCo, and you'll see.

Anyway, the load is all the way up in the air, and he gets to the crack, doesn't slow down, and BUMP the front tires go over the crack and all the poles do a little -jump- and slowly slide in all directions, including backwards over the forklift.

Did I mention that the safety cage had been removed from the forklift? Well, it had been.

So the poles come crashing down, many of them bouncing of f the poor guy's head, and there was a lot of screaming and a lot of blood. I called 911 while others attended to him, and he was taken away in an ambulance.

I'm pretty sure they settled with him out of court to keep his mouth shut-- OSHA was there a week later, and miraculously, there was a safety cage on the forklift. He never did come back to work, but I heard he was back on his feet a few months later.

Lucky.
posted by exlotuseater at 2:38 PM on November 17, 2007


If I'd were in Canada, I'd probably be very nervous of commercial breaks. If I heard that ad starting while in toilet, away from remote, I'd have to go laa-laa-laa, can't hear anything until I'm extra certain it is over. It is really enough to see/hear that once.

But really, first time it twists your brain because that slipping activity with feet is so slapstick funny, but at the same time you recognize that NO, BOILING OIL and cold horror floods your veins.
posted by Free word order! at 2:42 PM on November 17, 2007


If you think they are freaky on YouTube, try watching them when you are relaxing with a beer enjoying America's Funniest Home Videos and they pop up in the commercial break.

I love them, actually, especially when we get a new set like just now.
posted by unSane at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2007


These remind me of Stephen King's short story, The Mangler, which opens with a woman getting sucked into an industrial ironer and folder.


"It tried to fold everything," he said to Jackson, tasting bile in his throat. "But a person isn't a sheet, Mark."
posted by bwg at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2007


God, this is completely horrid. This has kind of ruined my night. Gonna go lay down now.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:50 PM on November 17, 2007


If I'd were in Canada, I'd probably be very nervous of commercial breaks.

Hell, I'm still traumatized from the short-lived 'Hack Attack' cough and cold medicine commercials in which normal-looking people's faces turned into horrific, cough-induced Beetlejuice-like grotesques, and that was 15 years ago.

Dammit unSane, haven't I been through enough already? Now I'm probably going to laugh the next time I see the commercials or cry whenever I watch Funniest Home Videos.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:56 PM on November 17, 2007


bwg -- "The Mangler" is the first thing I thought of upon viewing this horror.
posted by Coatlicue at 2:58 PM on November 17, 2007


What I love about the sous-chef thing is how the kitchen lacks the standard non-slip rubber safety mats you see in just about every pro kitchen.

But then you think, well, not every kitchen would have those ... and those are the ones where the accidents happen, I guess...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:21 PM on November 17, 2007


I couldn't help thinking of Griffin Dunne's character in An American Werewolf in London watching those. "Have you ever talked to a corpse? It's Boring."
posted by wannalol at 3:23 PM on November 17, 2007


mamajjj: That was one of the best pieces I've read in quite some time. It begins with one man's near-death experience and touches upon compassion, grace, and belief. Thank you for posting it.

What happened to Dave Holland is horrible. We are fortunate to have him still with us.
posted by mistersquid at 3:25 PM on November 17, 2007


Snuff advertising!
posted by Nelson at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2007


Horrible as that was to watch, the sous-chef had significant control (in hindsight) over the conditions that led to her accident. Her work requires skill, and she has a great degree of control over her environment. She needn't personally take time out of her work to clean up oil, she can direct apprentices to do it. If a sous-chef finds the conditions in her workplace unacceptable, chances are very good that she can get them fixed, ASAP; if all else fails, she is in a position to quit. Lower-class workers (meatpackers, for example), on the other hand, have no need to watch horror movie special effects to be warned of the danger of their jobs; and in any case there is nothing they can do about it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:00 PM on November 17, 2007


Since we're sharing: when I was a teenager I spent a couple of weeks one summer hanging around a hippie restaurant on Vancouver Island. One day, while I was asleep in a van outside, one of the girls who worked there had her right hand drawn into the meat cutter. It had to be amputated later that night. I remember that she'd called the restaurant and thanked everyone for trying to help her; she was in this weird, giddy, exalted state which is one of the responses to physical trauma.

The owner's 17 year old son cleaned out the meat cutter.

I was so deeply asleep that I even slept through the ambulance sirens. I'm kind of grateful that I did.
posted by jokeefe at 4:06 PM on November 17, 2007


The sous chef accident was downright fucking disturbing.

Yeah. I had seen the others, where people who have just been injured/killed are calmly talking and that gets the point across... but the blood chilling screaming and the way her face looked caused me to forget whatever it was she was trying to say and just think "jesus fucking christ" and hit the back button.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2007


That had to be oil. Boiling water would not do that to your face. Has anyone seen the car safety ad where the two young kids get pinned up against a wall by a car?
posted by autodidact at 4:44 PM on November 17, 2007


I don't think I'll watch tv in Canada.

Just this thread has freaked me right out.

(My dad has a wood splitter. One day a few years ago he managed to knock off the tip of his thumb to include most of the nail. For quite awhile he kept the part in a jar. Ewww.)
posted by konolia at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2007


That had to be oil. Boiling water would not do that to your face.

Yeah. I know. We all know, I think. I was just trying to console myself with that little denial, the thought that scalding hot water would be somehow less terrible that having your face torn to pieces by boiling oil.
posted by psmealey at 4:50 PM on November 17, 2007


By the way, why would you EVER pick up a 10 gallon pot of boiling wateroil off the burner to move to another area of the kitchen?

You wouldn't. Ever. And if you tried (even if you could lift it... without mitts, no less), you'd be fired so fast from my kitchen, boy, your head would spin.

Who shot these fucking things, Eli Roth? James Wan? Or maybe it was James Ellis (Final Destination 2 for those that don't know)? This is exploitative bullshit and it pisses me off. It's pornography for ad film directors who didn't have the balls to try real porn (or snuff for that matter).

Yes, workplace safety is incredibly important, and ALWAYS needs to be emphasize and ENFORCED. But that point is always best carried by the senior crew in any shop. Some bullshit govt subsidized little ad rant ain't gonna matter more than a hoot in hell (other than to disturb the rest of us with this manipulative load of shite), unless they set off to win some piece of shit end of season award for it.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 5:03 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


back in the day "the older i get, the more i like that phrase", when i worked in construction i was 'appointed' the OSHA supervisor by default. small company, early days of OSHA.

previously i had served a hitch in the US Coast Guard, "Semper Paratus". life and work at sea is always hazardous and you come to wonder which is the situation worse, the guys in the fishing industries or recreational boaters.
[the fishermen don't have much choice]

i managed not too make enemies, but got a lot of stuff from guys in a hurry. management liked me more when they learned i had prevented some expensive damage to construction machinery.

when i got into IT work i was asked by a manager one day about account security:

me:require and force use of alphanunermic
pswds casewords


mgr: whats alphanumeric.?
posted by lemuel at 5:12 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have to ask if whatever agency did this thinks people are so goddamn stupid and unimaginative that they can only understand the risks of such things with images and sounds of graphic violence

My last mandatory workplace safety seminar for the feds featured a cross-country "worst offenders" slide show -- equipment propped up precariously, crazy tangles of electrical cords clearly overloading sockets, sometimes with water dripping down. Totally nuts. One featured some trick with a forklift I can't even get my mind to remember to recount properly.

Yeah, Canada has a long-standing history of these. Mine in junior high were made in the 70's and were still pretty shocking. These were excellent. The acting and un-glossy production were perfect and managed to catch me off guard despite knowing what I was watching.
posted by dreamsign at 5:20 PM on November 17, 2007


Ugh. Yes, something about the sous-chef one makes you want to watch it twice (and then never again). Reminds me of an undergrad flaming sambuca shot gone wrong. Pretty, pretty girl. No permanent damage, but screaming, and in that case, flames...
posted by dreamsign at 5:50 PM on November 17, 2007


Canada has a long-standing history of these.

Maybe that's why everyone's so nice and polite up there. Everyone lives in constant, mortal fear of sudden violent death or horrible, instantaneous disfigurement.

Maybe we should start re-thinking our public policy in the US and how to communicate it.
posted by psmealey at 5:52 PM on November 17, 2007


Great series of commercials (although I'm too frightened to view a couple of them, like the chef one and the guy falling off the building). It's easy to get complacent on the job--I know I would all the time when I worked--and these PSAs should serve as good reminders. I know they scared the crap out of me!
posted by nevafeva at 5:59 PM on November 17, 2007


That had to be oil. Boiling water would not do that to your face.

I guess that would explain why it set the gas stove flaming, too. Oh, god.

I have to ask if whatever agency did this thinks people are so goddamn stupid and unimaginative that they can only understand the risks of such things with images and sounds of graphic violence


It's not about people being stupid. People don't think about the real consequences of accidents without in their spare time. These ads get across how awful they can be, and how easily they can happen. If they make someone think twice when they're carrying a pot of water, or climbing a ladder, they'll be worth it. And they'll do that much more than some bland, forgettable safety warning.
posted by Dasein at 6:02 PM on November 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Canada has a long-standing history of these.

The one you have to watch to get certified to haul anhydrous ammonia is quite amusing (If you get doused in the stuff, hold your breath and get a pal to toss you into one of those large troughs of water that are always placed smack dab in every farmer's field, donchaknow.)

AND they give you a donut!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:11 PM on November 17, 2007


And they'll do that much more than some bland, forgettable safety warning.

Ok, but for how long is it more memorable... and why is it memorable?

It reminds me of the edgy "this is your mind on drugs, and this is what it does to your family..." (young woman proceeds to trash apartment with an iron frying pan) bit. It's a jolt. It gets your attention, gets your dick hard, no doubt, but it's sound and fury signifying nothing.

Mostly its effect is for the viewer to wallow in its the horrible imagery and feel included. It's shocking, but it quickly fades into the background. If anything, it makes you want to medicate (which actually, incrementally makes the problem worse), not don the safety warden sash at work. Whatever you think about the boring safety notices at work, most adults look at them and realize they are there for a reason.

This bullshit is about shock, flash and attention about getting "community service" awards at the annual "Excellence in Advertising" conference.

And I'm still pissed that it ruined my night.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 6:19 PM on November 17, 2007


That had to be oil. Boiling water would not do that to your face.

You sure? I've seen documentaries about a kid who pulled a small pot of boiling water onto himself, and that kid was horribly burned. Like the people coming back from Iraq, or that woman who got hit by a drunk driver. That bad.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:28 PM on November 17, 2007


FYI these have already been playing on Canadian TV for months.

Way to be on the ball CanWest News Service
posted by yupislyr at 6:29 PM on November 17, 2007


Thirding the Ontario drunk driving one as being particularly traumatizing - it makes me shudder just to remember it. Seriously, I love gory movies and have seen some pretty vile stuff in my time, but the image of the father lying in bed with his head locked into one of those braces, and the creepy voiceover...ee-ee-ee.

Of course now I'm trying to find it online. Thus far without success.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:39 PM on November 17, 2007


Ok, but for how long is it more memorable... and why is it memorable?
...Mostly its effect is for the viewer to wallow in its the horrible imagery and feel included.


It depends on personal relevance. Many don't have to imagine this relates to them. I've worked in a few dangerous kitchens and was pretty careful (though often also low on sleep, working far too fast, etc.), and had I seen the sous-chef one, I know I'd have it rolling around in the back of my mind for a month at least, in general, and probably every time I'm about to lift hot liquids, or anything so large I can't see my footing in the kitchen.

Would it affect a school teacher or pet groomer the same way? Probably not.
posted by dreamsign at 6:50 PM on November 17, 2007


It's interesting how each clip tries to make note of how the victim of the accident was partly to blame: "I should've been more careful on that ladder/with that harness, etc." It's like, what are they trying to say? Be paranoid, all the time?
posted by fungible at 7:51 PM on November 17, 2007


what are they trying to say? Be paranoid, all the time?

That accident can mean "unintended" but still not mean unavoidable? I've talked to far too many people who, either trying to be blase and cool, or honestly not understanding or caring much about statistics, figure that risk is omnipresent and evenly distributed, so "you can be the most careful person in the world and be killed in an accident, or you can be careless and live to 100". This is true, but woefully missing the point. Precautions and awareness make a difference. "It was an accident" seems to be the excuse for just about every wrongheaded thing that went bad because the full result wasn't intended. That's kind of missing the point.

I really like the perspective of this set. A lot.
posted by dreamsign at 8:08 PM on November 17, 2007


All workplace safety videos should be like this one!
posted by photoslob at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2007


It's like, what are they trying to say?

BE CAREFUL, OR BE ROADKILL!!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:45 PM on November 17, 2007


Boiling oil: it worked in medieval times, it works today.
posted by bwg at 3:08 AM on November 18, 2007


Why did I click on Rumple's hockey link? Jesus, that scared me.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:40 AM on November 18, 2007


As well as by every damn video. The chef! Ugh.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:43 AM on November 18, 2007


♪Shake hands with dan-gerrrr♪
posted by evilcolonel at 7:20 AM on November 18, 2007


Oh dear, I laughed at the chef one... (though not as much as the German one)

But over in the UK we've had equally hard-hitting safety messages for years (I remember seeing one on building site safety that was basically a video nasty).

And we used to show horrors like the infamous Apaches to children!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:01 AM on November 18, 2007


Last night, after viewing these videos, I've made a new rule for my daughters: no more deep frying - EVER, for any reason, NO MATTER WHAT.

I actualy lost sleep over that chef one. Powerful, powerful stuff.
posted by JaySunSee at 10:07 AM on November 18, 2007


just watched the restaurant one....RIGHT BEFORE I GO TO WORK IN A KITCHEN.

i will not be working the frier tonight. fuck that.

you know, i bet the best thing to do if that were to happen would to grab a CO2 fire extinguisher and do that as fast as possible
posted by virga at 11:49 AM on November 18, 2007


Another story - my dad is known in our family as Mr. Safety. Thanks to his job as a manager for various chemical engineering companies, he's always understood the importance of safety. This is a man that will put on safety goggles to hang a picture on drywall.

A couple years ago, I was visiting the parents and Dad was volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. I decided to join him. Habitat was building several houses on the street, and we were working on different houses. Suddenly, someone was walking around asking for one of the volunteers. "Where is John? John's a doctor, where is he?"

There wasn't any panic, no one was screaming or anything, so it wasn't clear there was an accident. Slowly it dawned on me though that someone must have gotten hurt, and it must have been over at that house where Dad was working. I walked over.

My dad was lying on the ground, covered by someone's jacket to keep him from going into shock. I went over to him. "It's my wrist. It's really bad." He pulled down the jacket with his other hand, and his arm was across his chest. His wrist was bent at some ungodly angle that almost made me ill. Later at the hospital, nurses would come in just to see the xrays because "we heard it was the worst break anyone's ever seen." It took a couple surgeries, bone grafts, metal screws and plates to get it back to relative normal.

What had happened was Dad got up on an extension ladder that someone else had set up. It was apparently not properly set up, and while he was on it, the ladder collapsed. His arm got caught between the rungs as they slid past each other. Pretty horrific, and he's lucky he wasn't higher up - the fall didn't hurt him at all, it was just his arm getting caught in the collapsing ladder.

I can't watch any of those videos, but all I know is if Mr. Safety can get hurt like that, anyone can.
posted by misskaz at 11:54 AM on November 18, 2007


This is a man that will put on safety goggles to hang a picture on drywall.

That's no shit right there. I was putting up some pegboard in the basement a few months ago. No big, deal, just had some 4" nails I was pounding into the studs behind the board. As it happened, I slightly mishit one of the nails, and it bounced off the wall, and richochet back and hit me right by my left eye. Got a nice scratch from it.

Of course, dumbass (the guy who won't let anyone get on a ladder without someone else holding the base) wasn't wearing safety goggles, so I came within about half an inch of losing my left eye. Just like that. Woke up that morning, everything fine. Make a stupid mistake and you're half-blind by lunch time. Not cool.

Guess who went out and bought some safety goggles that afternoon?
posted by psmealey at 3:34 PM on November 18, 2007


But I've read several times from the internet that the goggles, they do nothing.
posted by Free word order! at 6:41 AM on November 19, 2007


Esteemed asavage, can you do a workplace safety myths special, please? DIY-safety precautions that are not all that.
posted by Free word order! at 6:46 AM on November 19, 2007


Although I laughed at it... I have been extra diligent about cleaning any spills in the kitchen since I saw the Chef clip.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:27 PM on November 19, 2007


On the longevity issue, I've since been to Home Depot twice, and can't shake the memory of these as I wander the seemingly mile-high stacks of heavy inventory.
posted by dreamsign at 11:17 PM on November 19, 2007


Please someone find that old Ontario ad with the guy in the hospital bed with the head brace. I give up. If other people hadn't mentioned it here, I'd be wondering if I'd just imagined the whole thing.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:41 AM on November 20, 2007


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