Unsafety Film

Thursday, 14 August 2014

In 1976 the British Aircraft Corporation wanted its staff to understand the dangers of not wearing safety goggles. They decided that the best way to do this was with a film that involved graphic reconstructions of eye injuries taking place. How they came to this decision is not recorded. Presumably, it seemed like ‘a good idea at the time’.

Thirteen employees needed to be helped out of the cinema by workmates or nurses. Many more felt nauseous or were physically sick. One man was so shocked that he fell off his chair and needed seven stitches in the head. The safety film was consequently withdrawn from use for being ‘too dangerous’.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out how many injuries BAC staff sustained from not wearing safety goggles before the film was made. BAC no longer exists, as it became part of British Aerospace in 1977, which then became part of BAE Systems in 1999. However, a spokeswoman for BAE told me that, ‘I doubt BAC suffered any more eye injuries than any other comparably-sized engineering company. I expect they were just playing it safe.’

It's not uncommon for people to play it safe. But was the film a response to a problem that didn't actually exist?

Discuss.

Source: The Book of Heroic Failures by Stephen Pile.

P.s. If you want to see the most hideous workplace safety film ever, this may be it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB86FZnjKTw . Or maybe this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jLGkmOVtnI

Not for the faint-hearted!

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