What better way to thank your Mum than by staying safe at work?

WorkSafeForMumWorkSafe Victoria has often been a leader in advertisements about occupational health and safety (OHS).  It has had mixed success since its Homecoming campaign, as it tries different strategies in the vital social media and internet communication world.

It’s latest campaign, Work Safe For Mum, has been running for around a week before Australia’s Mother’s Day on May 8, 2016.  It is one of those ads that doesn’t mention the product it is selling until the end.  The challenge with such ads is to inspire or guilt the viewer enough that they not only acknowledge the importance or relevance of the product but take the next act which, in this case, is to pledge to be safe at work.

WorkSafe advised that the intentions of the campaign are to ask

What better way to thank your Mum than by staying safe at work?

The ad encourages viewers to visit a website dedicated to the campaign where various e-cards are available for the viewer to ad their name to and email to their Mother.  The cards have a gentle humour and include a pledge to stay safe at work.

The radio campaign is less successful because it is less personal – no eye contact.  It also is distanced from the ease of clicking through to a website to produce a pledge.

WorkSafe Victoria should be commended for the campaign, even though the campaign is not as high a profile as it could have been.  However, that is one of the advantages of social media – the ability to produced short-term targeted campaigns.  Online campaign statistics will be collated and assessed to determine the level of viewer engagement and the number of e-cards sent.

Such campaigns, particularly when aimed at one parent, as in this case must include a similar campaign for the other parent.  WorkSafe Victoria advised SafetyAtWorkBlog that it “has plans for a similar campaign for Fathers Day”.  It could not do one without the other or someone would have accused them of sexism or discrimination.  Curiously at the time of writing WorkSafe had not registered the WorkSafeForDad.com.au web domain.  This seems odd and a little shortsighted.

WorkSafe would be silly not to also campaign on staying safe for Christmas but perhaps with a different tack, one that commits to the family.  The tag line could easily be

“I promise to stay safe at work so I can be with you all at Christmas”.

This would also coincide with WorkSafe’s usual pre-Christmas campaigns.

The e-card option is cost effective but needs some work as e-cards are often impersonal and something that people send because they require a minimal effort.  Tossing off an e-card seems to run contrary to the emotional connection that WorkSafe is trying to achieve through the safety pledges.  But perhaps, the internet generation places more importance on e-cards than the effort to send a real card.  Given that Australia’s postal service is becoming increasingly disinterested in letters, perhaps WorkSafe has no choice but e-cards.

However consider the potential emotional impact if WorkSafe was to encourage the effort for children to purchase (or make) a physical card from WorkSafe offices or volunteers.  (Perhaps this could be a pre-stamped postcard so as to avoid an envelope)  Most of the work has already been done but given the increased difficulty in posting a letter, the Mum or Dad would appreciate the pledge even more because of the effort taken.  If a child is willing to purchase a card, write on it, and post it, there is a greater strength in the pledge and the thoughts that went into it.

There is certainly time to consider this approach (perhaps the postcards could be free) in the lead-up to Christmas when the posting of cards remains a hugely popular activity.

WorkSafe advised that the campaign will have a physical presence as part of its sponsorship of Australian Rules football at

“this Sunday’s Game of the Month between Nirranda and Panmure where people can make the pledge to be safe for their Mum”.

More of this type of activity would have been good and it seems to be a good fit for Australia’s Father’s Day which is on September 9 and coincides with the last rounds of the country football and netball seasons.

One of the greatest advertising challenges must be how to promote an action or a value that should already be integral to a community’s morality.  How do you advertise the importance of a safe workplace?  WorkSafe makes a good attempt with its Work Safe For Mum but it continues to focus on OHS as an individual choice or an individual’s obligation. Regardless of this WorkSafe Victoria continues to try when few others are.

Kevin Jones

Categories advertising, audio, campaign, communication, government, media, OHS, safety, WorkSafeTags ,

3 thoughts on “What better way to thank your Mum than by staying safe at work?”

  1. I hope you have clicked ‘notify me of new comments’ Leanne and Andrea.
    Leanne, your excellent point is missed by this type of campaign.

    Responsiblity for others safety, as well as your own, should always be the message. This is littered through the WHS act.
    It doesn’t matter how many people look after their own safety if they are being supervised or undermined by someone who doesn’t know, doesn’t care or even worse is trying to save money to get the job done.

    Focus the money and efforts with campaigns, education and regulation for those who;
    Do not know as the education process is flawed and they get into the workplace undetected.
    Do not care and therefore practice unsafely despite knowing the implications.
    Or, practice unsafely because that is what they learned from a workplace or industry that is undermined by a ‘culture’ of ‘she’ll be right I’ve done it this way all my working life and you will too if you want your job’

    Punish appropriately and publish details within a campaign that demonstrates clearly, fail to meet your responsibility to yourself, and those you are responsible for, and this will happen.

    The WHS prosecution databases are overflowing with examples, not necessarily of appropriate punishments but certainly failures to meet responsibilities.

    Not just Mothers Day or Fathers Day or Christmas Day, everyday.

    Andrea, not indulgent, don’t ever think that. Your voice and your work is critically important, and your message comes from pain and suffering. We can all learn a lot from pain and suffering if we take the time to listen.

    Kevin, thank you for continuing to give the voices a place to be heard.

  2. My son is not yet in the workforce – just started highschool this year – but I still have on my office wall the Mothers day card he gave me when he started prep, and I had just started in my first role as a safety officer. “My mum works at (company name). She makes sure no-one gets hurt in the factory,” Only five years old but captured my role in one sentence.
    Every employee at our company is someone’s son or daughter and they trust us to look after their kids. I hope I can live up to the trust my son showed when he was five.
    And when he does join the workplace, I won’t be asking HIM to “stay safe for mum”, I’ll be asking his EMPLOYER – what are YOU doing to make sure no-one gets hurt at your workplace?

  3. For some of us, Mothers Day cuts very, very deeply …

    I’m indulging here – because in 2004 unsafe work practices stole my very loved and precious son. He was all I had. It feels like all links to motherhood have been forever broken and every single sleeping maternal function inside me has been stirred and forced into this bitter memory of a life I really enjoyed once upon a time.

    It’s a good message. Well done.

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