A Winnipeg WHMIS Warble

You may remember one of my previous posts about Safety Boredom from earlier last year.  In the post I describe how, for most intents and purposes, boredom in the safety world is a really good thing – it means people are going about their business and not getting hurt.  In the post I make some comments about having flashbacks to “my WHMIS-induced bouts of narcolepsy from the nineties” and discuss the challenge of engaging people in some really important, but not very exciting training.

I recently received an email from a very talented and brave safety officer from Winnipeg, Marshall Carroll. Marshall shared this video with me of a song he’s put together to make WHMIS a tad more interesting.  Please take a listen and watch the video.  Marshall has done a fantastic job of spicing up something that’s pretty dry. He’s got some good safety messages in the video/song and I really enjoyed his sense fun.  Turn up your speakers and check it out:



After you’ve watched the video take some time to reflect on some of the chemicals you use in the workplace. Do you know where to find Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) in your workplace?  Have you looked at them lately?  How about your containers – are they labelled correctly?  Do you have the right safety gear and do you know how to handle and dispose of them safely?  We’ve lived with WHMIS since the late 1980′s – it makes sense to brush up a bit.

For those of you that like to think ahead here’s a link to a free e-course from CCOHS about WHMIS after GHS (Globally Harmonized System, aka WHMIS 2).

I guess WHMIS can be fun…but probably only when set to music….Thanks Marshall for the WHMIS Warble!  I’m looking forward to the Lockout Lullaby….

Cause safety to happen today in your workplace…Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy

A Simple Safety Message….on YouTube

I picked up a new pocket HD camcorder during the Xmas holiday.  Here’s my first attempt on YouTube sharing a very simple safety message about hazards, risks and controls.  Check it out and be gentle with me…this is my first online video…

Cause safety to happen today in your workplace….Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy

Safety Videos on YouTube

I spent some time over the weekend touring YouTube looking for interesting safety videos to post on the site. I can see the thought bubble over your head right now – “Andrew, get a life”.  Well I have one and it seems to focus a lot around safety.

I searched using these key words…canada…safety…accidents…video.  Many of the OHS videos that I found were of the social marketing variety.

These videos generally contained messages showcasing safety facts, workplace situations and injuries.  Most of them had an emotional impact by showing a staged injury or the legacy of a real person’s injury experience. These examples appeal to our visceral memory, but after a while they start to look a lot a like. Perhaps my brain was getting tired of seeing the same message and having to experience the same emotion of dread. The shock was starting to wear off.  It was harder to get emotionally engaged as time went on. I think these things are good in ones and twos, but too many at the same time ruins the impact. It’s probably a good thing that you only see these videos as part of a short, focused social marketing campaign.

Here are some samples of videos from provincial safety authorities:

Ontario WSIB

Alberta Industry and Employment Student Contest Winner

Nova Scotia WCB

Safe Work Manitoba

I really liked the impact video from Alberta.  It wasn’t gory but it got the message across in terms of emotion and also had some prevention messages. The videos from Nova Scotia and Manitoba also had interesting twists that weren’t necessarily all about the blood.

One thing that I found disturbing was the comments left by the viewers who felt the need to say something. Some thought the situations were funny or the people were stupid. It’s like they didn’t realize that these were depictions of events that actually happen in real life. Perhaps they’ve become jaded by the hollywood qualities of our marketing. Have we become inured to blood and gore? In real life probably not, but in media it just doesn’t seem real.

Here are some real life accidents. This video has been floating around for quite a while. At the end of the video, I imagine many people are laughing. I find this reaction incredibly disturbing.

Having a Bad Day

I came across one other video that I found was riveting and it hit home on a personal level. It’s from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and it depicts an interview with Shirley Hickman, Executive Director of Threads of Life. Shirley is one of the most amazing and courageous women I know. She is the mother of Tim, who died in 1996 from injuries sustained in an explosion at Silverwoods Arena in London, Ontario. I was the Manager of OHS at the City of London at the time and I shared part of Shirley’s journey, but not the terrible sacrifice she and her family experienced. I don’t have permission to embed the video but you can link to it here. It’s about 10 minutes long, but worth the time.

Safety is one of the basic human needs.  In our society there’s so much “noise” from other seemingly more pressing matters. Hazards don’t stop because we’re busy listening to the “noise”. Safety’s place is in the conscious mind.

Please do take a moment to discover some of the video resources that are out there. You can use them to provide an emotional impact in your safety presentations or in team meetings. Pick the ones that you think are going to get your people engaged in your message. Some discussion after will also help to make it real for them.

Keep causing safety to happen…Andrew…a Canadian Safety Guy

PS…there’s a lot more video out there…check out the right sidebar for links to safety videos from WorkSafeBC.