Countdown synopsis: Ah, work safety. One of my favourite genres of nightmare-fuel PSAs… and judging by the thumbnail, you can probably tell why. If you weren’t scarred by the likes of graphic road safety commercials by the folks from the Land Down Under, or the anti-smoking commercials that make you want to vomit out your entrails, or the anti-drugs commercials to make you want to hide under your bed and never resort to leaving the house ever again, then maybe all of the aforementioned were a little bit too tame for you. Work safety PSAs are anything but tame, and if you aren’t already familiar with them, by the end of this video you may want to just give up all hope of ever being in a workplace environment, resort to bubble-wrapping up your entire household and becoming a hermit for the rest of your life: I wouldn’t blame you. And no, I am not being sarcastic. You just wait and see the true terror of what I’m talking about here… so put on your hard hats, step away from those blistering hot deep fat fryers (unlike the poor unfortunate soul in the thumbnail), and strap yourself in… tightly. You wouldn’t want your harness to bust and cause you to fall to your impending death.
“I’m a sous chef here. With any luck I should be head chef by next year. I’ve got this amazing fiancé: but I won’t be marrying this weekend… because I’m about to be in a terrible ‘accident’. But really I should have cleaned up the grease over there, and they should never put the deep fryer so close–!”
[The chef slips, dousing her entire upper-half of her body with the blistering-hot liquid from the vat she was carrying. She is then laying on the floor in the most unimaginable pain… letting out a harrowing, blood-curdling scream. Her body is covered in blisters, with the sound of her skin still sizzling.]
– The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), “Top Chef” commercial
10: “Beth” – WorkSafe, 2013 (Australia)
We begin with an ad which is partnered with the “Nick” one we will get to in a short while, of which both aim to prevent accidents in the workplace caused by young workers too coy to ask for assistance. In this one, we have a story of a mother watching her daughter play in a pool at a swimming baths. The girl waves to her mother, only for another child to walk past giving a very concentrated stare at the mother. We then see that the entire left side of her face is completely scarred with a clouded cornea on her eyeball. As the ad progresses, we get to see how this injury has affected her life after the accident… whatever it was. We jump back in time to her at a wedding photoshoot (insecurely trying to cover up the scarred side of her face with a strand of her hair), applying makeup in a mirror to try and hide the blemishes, and finally to her getting her bandages removed in a hospital burns unit, with her mother sat at her bedside, giving her daughter a reassuring smile – but we all know her face isn’t going to be the same again. Finally, we jump back in time once more to just before the accident occurred. At first she is seen wearing her safety goggles, but immediately before her mishap they are seen resting on top of her head. I’m not entirely sure why she had taken her safety goggles off, but let’s presume for the sake of argument that she… is a dingbat. Whilst cleaning up a restaurant kitchen, she kneels down to pull out a large container full of oven cleaner. She dubiously looks towards her manager, who seems busy talking to another employee. Out of juvenile coyness, she chooses not to ask for help and so tries to pour some of the liquid by herself… yeah, we know what’s coming. She drops the heavy tub full of corrosive oven cleaner onto the floor, of which backsplashes out all over her face as we cut to black, hearing her whimper in blistering pain. Now she has them scars for the rest of her life… all because of one sheepish mistake to not ask for any help. Quite an effective ad if you ask me, especially considering the fact that most young people, especially when they get their first job or apprenticeship, are often too amateurishly shy to ask for any assistance. But in reality, there really is no harm in asking. Hence why I have recently learned that no question is as bizarre as you may think, and you should always ask for reassurance, even if you have the slightest bit of doubt: “If you’re not sure, ask.”
9: “Dangerous Machine” – CSST, 2006 (Québec, Canada)
Next we see some dimwit get his whole arm eaten up by a conveyor belt after getting his shirt sleeve stuck. At first this ad seems rather tame, and indeed it is, but perhaps the slight of his finger bending back like a piece of plasticine (which they probably did use by the looks of it), will make you feel slightly uneasy. However last time I checked, fingers don’t naturally bend back a full 180° without becoming severely bruised or fractured completely… however his finger still looks quite plump and unbloodied. And who the hell hired this guy?! He’s not even in proper uniform: he’s in jeans and a bloody shirt! For goodness sakes man… you’re working in a factory, not a bloody office! What’s really comical about this ad is the fact the machine doesn’t even jolt or break – it just keeps on swallowing him entire arm like a human spaghetti maker! Hilarious! Just makes me think what would have happened if we didn’t cut to black: would he have ended up like a squashed human pancake? And just a side note, an arm that flexible kinda reminds me of that scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Harry breaks his arm playing quidditch and Professor Lockhart tries to perform a spell to fix it, but backfires when he turns his arm into a piece of human rubber.
8: “Factory” – The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), 2006 (Canada)
After that slightly comical break, we have arrived at the ultimate emotional hurricane of commercials commissioned by The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) of Canada. Seriously, these guys do not mess around. All the ads focus on a main protagonist that ends up either being killed or severely injured in what they call ‘accidents’, which are usually complete understatements, as they explain how their injuries/deaths could have easily been prevented if their companies were more aware of potential safety risks. This usually involves the accident happening almost immediately after the commercial begins, and the character could well be, quite graphically, about to die. They would then give their usual aside monologue to the audience about how their everyday lives are about to inevitably come to an unfortunate end due to their impending mishaps, or succumbing fatal injuries only to stand up without any pain whatsoever, whilst clearly dying and gushing with blood, in order to scold their fellow employers that their failure for not checking the safety of their work vicinities is the direct cause of their preventable deaths… all whilst creepy ambient music plays in the background! Oh the joys! In this ad, a guy driving a forklift backs up into a broken shelf (not reported by the supervisor) for it to collapse due to the heavy weight of the metal rods stored high above, of which falls directly onto him, entombing him beneath them. He gets up without pain to smack a few wrists before he dies… with the metal rods that empaled him clearly sticking out of his chest. A bit like a kebab. You’re probably tired of me ruining your appetite with all the food analogies to describe gruesome mishaps… sorry.
7: “Nick” – WorkSafe, 2013 (Australia)
Here’s the other ad from WorkSafe Australia, made to show the potential consequences that could occur if young workers don’t speak up and ask for assistance. You know the gist of it already – we see the story of a young worker who succumbs to a lifelong handicap, as a result of a workplace accident which could have been prevented if they had the balls to just speak up. In this one, a young man named Nick gets his whole arm severed off (or probably crushed beyond repair, hence the amputation) by a packaging machine! Well at least I think it’s a packaging machine… it looks deadly nonetheless. I’m not entirely sure what he was expecting to happen: “Oh the forcefully-rotating machine’s jammed, let me stick my arm into its orifice and try to clear the blockage… – SPLAT.” Yeah, it wasn’t one of his brightest ideas, but at least we get a lovely shot of the blood spurting out all over his face – that’s all we came here to see really… don’t deny it!
6: “Shopgirl” – WSIB, 2006 (Canada)
And we are back to WSIB with yet another creepy ad that involves workers casually standing back up like everything is hunky-dory straight after being in a horrifying accident. From the very beginning, you can see something is off straight away – the shopgirl is clearly leaning way too far to her left as she tries to hang a large ‘SALE’ sign from the ceiling. She falls, smashing straight into the glass display cabinets right below her… ouch! Her fall is quite comical though, especially when it was her own stupid fault for leaning too far over. Anyway her colleague rushes over blaring, “There’s been an accident! Somebody help!”, but of course her undead corpse rises up to scold her for the use of the word “accident” whilst very deep cuts cover her face and body, and a badly wounded arm gushing with blood not fazing her whatsoever: “This was no ‘accident’ – the company should have replaced that ladder years ago… I knew I shouldn’t have reached over like that. And why isn’t there a strict policy about two people doing a job like this?” To make matters worse, the very chilling ambience rumbles in the background as we cut to black. Although I don’t understand what she means by, “two people doing a job like this” – a job like what exactly? Hanging banners from the ceiling? Surely, if you’re not a plonker who leans too far over whilst high up on a ladder, the job shouldn’t be so difficult that it requires more than one person. And she mentions a dodgy ladder, that’s presumably broken that should have been replaced… but the ladder looked pretty stable to me: surely if it was the ladder at fault, we would see the ladder itself somewhat collapse, like a step breaking off or something. But nothing… in fact the ladder slams off the ground without breaking, looking like it was built to withstand nuclear impact. I reckon she’s just trying to find excuses for her own foolishness… naughty naughty! But I just love the way the other shopgirl itches her sleeve in response to her colleague’s gashed arm. “I knew I shouldn’t have reached over like that…” – yeah too late for that now Rodney, you plonker.
5: “Padlocking” – CSST, 2006 (Québec, Canada)
Here’s another gruesome slash unintentionally funny one from the Canadian-French folks at CSST. It shows a worker operating some sort of large machine upon noticing there was no bright red padlock to indicate someone was working behind it (or something like that), but we are soon shown that this was not the case as a bald fat man (presumably a supervisor of some sort) runs out from behind the machine shouting, “Nooooooo!” – but of course it’s too late, as we see that a poor guy has had his entire head pressed by an oversized human-lasagne maker. Although we can blatantly tell that the head is basically a plastic dummy, it is still rather stomach-churning to see his real hand slightly twitch, much like how a leg still twitches when you pull one off a daddy longlegs. Funnily enough, this commercial was actually paired with another commercial which starts off exactly the same, but this time the worker notices that a bright red padlock has been placed thus preventing the imminent splats. Many thanks to Peachy for introducing me to these commercials, of course! Who knew seeing a guy’s head being squashed by an overly large pasta press could be so morbidly humorous?!
4: “Nail Gun” – WorkSafe, 2008 (Australia)
You probably know where this one is going immediately, just by reading the title. And the fact that it’s another Australian commercial means it’s going to be quite graphic, as you should know by now that Australians sure don’t mess around when it comes to safety PSAs… and this one certainly proves that. We see a pubescent young worker whom is quite thrilled to be rewarded with the opportunity of using a nail gun for the first time, as his testosterone-driven mentality of briefly pretending that it’s a real gun shows. Of course he presumes using a nail gun is like a walk in a park, “If old Sandy can do it, it can’t be that hard…” – so he pursues to nail up a chipboard, only to foolishly remove his safety goggles because he “can’t see a bloody thing.” Yes, of course that was a bad idea… do I really need to explain what happens from here? Oh, alright then… if you insist. He shoots a nail only for it to ricochet off the wall and lodge itself straight into his eyeball as he yells in terror. We get a final shot of the lovely nail protruding from his eye socket… ouch! So there you have it, kids. They’re called safety goggles for a bloody reason! I bet “old Sandy” thinks you’re a right juvenile twit now, doesn’t he?
3: “Vat” – WorkSafe, 2008 (Australia)
In an entry that is remarkably similar to the Number 1 spot (without revealing everything), this next commercial is probably one of the most toe-curling ads produced by WorkSafe Australia, which is very painful to watch. We see a young worker in a very hectic kitchen environment as we get to hear his very frantic inner monologue: “What do I do now?” he anxiously asks himself. One of the head chefs asks him to move a very massive vat full of boiling hot stock… yeah this isn’t going to end well. He tries to pick the pot up, but it is too hot for him to carry. He looks for inspiration from a fellow worker who’s using gloves to handle the hot items out of an oven… quite a quick and quirky idea, right? Wrong. He decides to handle the boiling hot vat in wet, rubber gloves… oh dear. This bad decision inevitably leads him to fall backwards and drop the heavy vat full of blistering hot stock all over his body. He lays on the floor yelling in agonising pain, as we see his extremely blistered arms and face (accompanied by a few carrots) before we cut to black. Oh dear. When will these kids learn? But if this advert didn’t make you painfully cringe out of complete horror, perhaps the Number 1 spot will…
2: “Bakery” – WorkSafe, 2008 (Australia)
Sorry Australia, but you’ve just missed out on the top spot here. Don’t feel disheartened though, this was is still as gory and toe-curlingly painful to watch just like the others! Except this one contains a lot more blood. In fact, I think it’s the only entry except for the ‘Nick’ one that contains a tremendous amount of blood… and we all like a bit of blood don’t we? Especially when it comes with a partially-severed finger. Oh yes, you won’t be able to enter bakeries ever again without thinking of the mishap shown in this commercial which results in a poppy seed loaf complete with a severed fingertip soaked in gloopy blood… which has weirdly made me feel slightly peckish. Well look on the bright side: at least the added fingertip is free, which is an added bonus! Anyways, as you have probably guessed by now, we see a young worker yet again too coy to speak up and ask for help with the bread slicer. A customer walks into a bakery (no, this is not the start of a corny joke) and asks for a poppy seed loaf, and after the first little mishap of accidentally giving him a wrong loaf, he asks if he can get it sliced… thick. The young worker then coyly looks towards her manager for assistance, but she is too busy talking on the phone, so reassures herself that she can work the
finger bread slicer on her own. Which of course is a bad move, duh! She places the bread into the slicer but immediately realises that the slicer is set to thin instead of thick, and her hand goes straight into the slicer after the bread, causing her to lose a tip of one of her fingers in the process. She screams whilst holding her bloodied hand, gushing with blood like some sort of human fountain! What I find funny about this ad is the look on the customers face after it happened: he’s like, “I asked for a thick sliced poppy seed loaf… not half a bloody finger!” Oh you Australians, you.
1: “Top Chef” – WSIB, 2006 (Canada)
So here we are. We have arrived at the most horrifying work safety commercial ever – and I do not say that as an over exaggeration… this one is truly terrifying, and will probably haunt you for a very long time (well, at least it haunts me anyway). It’s actually really surprising that the most disturbing commercial ever produced for the WSIB doesn’t actually involve a death – well, not an immediate one anyway: there’s nothing stopping a person from dying as a result of the phenomenal physiological stress your body will endure as a result of these excruciating injuries. The ones we have seen so far have involved a victims succumbing to injuries via dreadful accidents which would pretty much kill you either immediately or shortly after, only for their corpses to reanimate to scold their fellow employees and staff before inevitably dying as a result of their blunt trauma. This one isn’t like that. We start off with a young sous chef happily reciting the exciting things that have happened to her, such as getting engaged and marrying the following weekend, and hopefully being promoted to head chef by the end of next year. Her smiles of joy quickly turn into a face full of dreadful solemn and regret: “But I won’t be marrying this weekend… because I’m about to be in a terrible ‘accident’…” She walks over to a huge vat filled with blistering hot grease used as a deep fryer as she explains: “But really I should have cleaned up the grease over there, and they should never put the deep fryer so close–!” – the chef slips on the grease spill, causing her to douse the entire upper-half of her body with the blistering-hot liquid from the vat she was carrying. She lands straight onto her back with a tremendous force, but unfortunately this wasn’t enough to knock her unconscious. We then see her lying on the floor convulsing in the most unimaginable, excruciating pain whilst letting out harrowing, blood-curdling screams of her immense agony. A fellow colleague rushes over to try and help her, but there’s nothing much he can do. Her body is already covered in blisters, as the sound of her skin still sizzling via the ferociously hot grease and her cries of agony accompany us as we cut to black. Bloody hell. That was a lot to take in wasn’t it? I think her horrifying screams will haunt me for the rest of my life. In fact it’s probably one of the worst screams I’ve ever heard in my entire life – and that’s including all the horror movies and TV shows I’ve watched. You can actually hear the pain in her voice, creating a very inhuman demonic sound you would only hear from the fiery pits of hell. What a scream. And you can only give tremendous props to the actress for producing them sorts of blood-curdling noises… she must have a larynx and lungs made of steel. I wonder how the director got her to scream like that: “Okay so, here’s your inspiration: imagine the pain you feel when you slightly burn or scold yourself on a hot stove or with boiling water. Let that pain spread across your entire body and sink deep into your tissues. Now intensify that pain a thousand times, and then a thousand times again. That is the pain you’re feeling right now.” – you can’t even imagine it, can you? Neither can I. Bloody hell.
If you want to check out more of these WSIB commercials, there’s one that includes a construction worker blowing himself up and falling from a 5 storey building, and an electrician waking up at his own funeral after poorly insulated high voltage wires left him with a badly charred face and hands. Both of which are equally terrifying. However if I included all five of these WSIB ads, that’d be a tad biased and repetitive.
Final thought: Once again, thank you all for reading! Even though my blog posts may not be the most consistent thing in the universe, I am still really grateful so many of you take time from your lives and read the complete and utter nonsensical babble I have to say. Time and time again I say I will try to make my uploads/blog posts more consistent, but time and time again I fail at doing so. Life catches up with me and some things are pushed to the back of my mind until eventually it’s too bloody late to apologise (cue that One Republic song). So I’m just grateful you’re all still here waiting for me to pop my head from out the woodwork now and then. But like I said before, sometimes it’s nice to keep people waiting for something… not too long of course, but long enough to build up suspense and release excitement when I finally do upload or write another incoherent rambling on my blog post. This time I’m not going to make any promises I know I probably won’t keep… so I’ll just leave it at that. You’ll see me when you see me, and let’s hope that is very soon. Thank you all, and I hope you all have a good week! 🙂
P.S. Make sure you check out my “TOP 50: SCARIEST PUBLIC INFORMATION FILMS – REDUX” if you haven’t done so already! Of course it’s filled to the brim with disturbing, gruesome and gory content to feast your morbidly curious eyes on! 🙂 Thank you!