Safety Culture & Film

When I was in Sweden I taught Occupational Health and Safety to undergrads in our Faculty. In one of the lectures we talked about safety culture and how it might be influenced. In Sweden where Occupational Heath has been a part of working culture for a long time, there is not as much resistance or unfamiliarity with safety as a concept. However, it was still fun to spend some time looking at how folks have tried to improve safety culture and talking about how successful they were. This week I’ll post some examples of health and safety videos and talk about what might make them successful.

This is a little outside my regular research area, but has always been an interest of mine. Certainly the existence/lack of safety culture is clear when you visit a worksite, although I imagine measuring it is a tricky thing.

It isn’t easy to change people’s minds when it comes to safety. Sadly, sometimes change is motivated by a sentinel (or catastrophic) event that induces folks to take action. We all want to foster a supportive, safety-oriented culture, but how can this be done? The Greeks thought theatre could be a cathartic and transformative experience that would make citizens emerge from the theatre as better people. Perhaps film is a way to promote change? I’d love to know whether these films motivate you. 🙂

Here is video #1, an original from WWII when women were joining the workforce in a big way:

This one might have done the trick at the time, but now suffers from many of the characteristics that keep safety materials from being effective:

  • Catastrophe fatigue
  • Boring
  • Not relevant to working conditions
  • Not culturally relevant (language, social interactions, demographics)
  • Poor production values and acting are distracting

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