Graphic hazard video from WorkSafe BC

Graphic ads or videos from OHS regulators are not new but each has their own approach and WorkSafe BC has released one, in particular, that is of interest to the construction industry.

On first viewing, the conduct of the supervisor is annoying.  He provides inadequate information to the worker.  He approves of the wrong tool for the job.   Others may see nothing but a silly young worker.

Safety ads always have a specific intended audience and often criticism comes from those who are outside that demographic target.  The current ad can be seen as the “cool ad where a guy gets a chainsaw to the neck” but the supervisor audience, those who run their own small business or construction company are unlikely to respond that way.

The wrong decisions by the supervisor are clear from the outset and these “bad calls” are re-emphasised at the close of the ad.

OHS regulators need to create more such instruction ads and to establish an online library so that the videos can be used in support of local safety initiatives in a variety of industries.  The fact that the ad above is Canadian and the workers would come under Canadian OHS laws is irrelevant as the work practice and hazard is universal.

This, however, throws up a challenge to those who are trying to make a living by producing OHS training videos.  Are the safety ads from regulators enough multimedia for training purposes?  Do workers need to see videos of the right thing to do or are short videos of the “reality” of workplace hazards enough, as long as these videos are used as part of on-site or person-to-person OHS training?

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia

5 thoughts on “Graphic hazard video from WorkSafe BC”

  1. I often wonder about the next step after pointing out what\’s wrong. This is something that comes up often as a parent as I try to explain how to do something correctly – rather than \”here\’s what I don\’t want you to do.\” In this WorkSafeBC video, it might be an interesting approach to stop when the worker is cut by the chainsaw, then run it all backwards sped up to that exact point when the supervisor turns a blind eye. He could say \”No. Stop. Replace the circular saw blade.\” etc. and it could end with the guy walking safely into his house at the end of the day.

  2. I remember having to make a silicosis prevention video, we told the production house what we wanted in it and they scripted it, we had to go back to them so many times to re explain the audience demographic. The main \”character\” was played by an Actor that they provided – he looked and acted like someone from Shakespearean Theater. Although he was most offended and chucked a big hissy fit we had to get rid of him or lose all credibility – we grabbed a bloke out of a dump truck and he did a brilliant and credible job.

    I was once a young Production Manager in a factory in Sydney. We had a new MD start and his first day was spent wandering around. He had one focus and said nothing else but pointed at this pile of crap and that dodgy piece of equipment and ordered it all cleaned up, repainted and fixed before anything else got done. In the end it looked like a totally different workplace. He then took photos and had them placed in each area to show people how it looked and how it should remain. Morale went up, production increased, quality improved and people stopped getting hurt.

    We were just blinded by our familiarization and acceptance of our work environment as being the norm.

  3. These short and sweet videos shown regularly (different one each day at say a morning pre-start) I think are much more effective than the some of the boring stuff you pay $1000 for and are written by some snooty nosed media studies graduate (my apologies to the few that are very good). I know of one mining company that puts these Youtube Videos up on the crib room tv for the guys to watch each morning.

    I reckon most of the intended audience would think after watching it \”well what should/could the Supervisor have done\” so I think that should be included at the end. No good just saying you are responsible for instruction, training & supervision and \”there is always time\” as that just rolls off the tongue and I reckon half the reason it doesn\’t happen is that supervisors don\’t know how to do it! I\’m still sitting here thinking \”what would I have done\”? and yet we expect Supervisors to do this day in day out in immediate response to every situation that arises – so much easier to turn a blind eye and hope nothing goes wrong.

    1. Dave, I agree on the potential use and influence of these videos on YouTube and, although I am not a great viewer of YouTube, have to stress that any online video must be scrutinised for suitability first.

      I have not written a safety training video but have been called in partway through production for my opinion on the scripting. There is only so much that can be done at that stage as video has already been shot. The video may have incorrect PPE or hazards on the periphery of the screen that are not seen in post-production.

      A safety professional with experience in the industry being video-ed is, in my opinion, vital so that the setup can be as real as possible but still push the positive safety messages.

      I remember visiting a new manufacturing plant after years of visiting old, dirty plants and I was very impressed by the lack of noise, the adequate lighting levels, the space and the general housekeeping. I had got used the negative as normal so was blown away by the positive. For those working in the new plant, the positive was the norm. We rarely see these positive norms in OHS and training videos as the purpose of the videos is to move us to the positive.

      I would be interested in seeing a video of how something is done right, how a workplace is designed to be safe, or a project has been completed on, or under, budget and with no injuries. Will such a video change the behaviours of workers and supervisors? Probably not but it would show managers and OHS professionals what can be achieved with adequate planning. It would provide, or reinforce, positive safety as the norm.

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