Safety in the industrial environment is challenging.

How much money do you have to spend to purchase safety protective equipment to prevent accidents? Try asking yourself how much it will cost you whenever an accident happens – loss of life, loss of work and productivity, insurance claims, material damage, and not counting those extra hours writing reports…

Accidents are not cheap. In fact, they can be very, very expensive!

And ironically, most accidents are caused by people! And it is not easy to get people to follow what you want them to do. Everybody has a free will and they know it.

How useful are your protective equipment if your workers are not using them? How do you ensure that your workers remember safety guidelines and avoid dangerous practices? Or observe good safety practices when nobody supervises them?

Somehow, people need to get it into their subconscious mind to want to follow safety rules and regulations. If not it will be an uphill task for the safety practitioner. Do they have to wield the big stick like a policeman and play a cat-and-mouse game all the time?

Safety awareness is the key to controlling accidents. Safety awareness is critical in any construction site. So many dangerous activities are happening at the same time. It only takes one unsafe act to bring your safety record plunging down.

What is the best way to deliver your safety message?

Interestingly, researchers have found that people remember 50% more in what they see than in what they hear. Visuals get people’s attention. Advertising people know about this. The many images on billboards, magazines, newspapers or even on the internet are testimonies that visuals do attract people and advertising using visuals are so effective.

Humor in posters brings good feelings and makes ideas more memorable and receptive. This again has a lot to do with the working of the mind. Pleasant thoughts generate more receptive learning. Have you ever tried studying for an exam when you have ugly thoughts disturbing your mind?

Humor effectively drives a point that is so easy to understand when done correctly. Accident situations cannot be photographed. Only stuntmen are crazy enough to do things that can result in accidents. Cartoons can be effectively used to illustrate dangerous situations which might be impossible to capture on film in real life.

What do you mean by done correctly? Well, in any graphic design, there must be a certain composition that makes a picture stand out. It’s what makes people stop and stare. It’s the difference between a prize-winning visual and a mediocre one.

Composition is simply the arrangement of the subject matter within the confines of a picture space. It’s not just a matter of putting the main focus in the center. The arrangement of other components of a picture will lead the eye of the beholder to the center of interest. Through composition, a picture is unified into a well-balanced and pleasing design.

There are many techniques for arranging subjects to create attractive graphics. Some of the well known ones are: the S-shape, L-shape, three spot composition, tunnel, silhouette, golden mean, radiating line and many others.

Another way to capture interest is by the use of colors or lack of it. Strong reds will stand out in a green background. Skillful matching of colors can enable pictures to stand out, and make people take notice.

In safety communication, the safety slogan must also be eye-catching. After all, that is the safety message that you want to deliver to people. To be successful, the words must stand out above the rest.

The successful safety poster first captures people’s attention with the graphics and the color. Next, it lets them enjoy the images to relax their mood. Finally, it presents the safety slogan or message for the finale.

If done well, people will remember the messages in safety posters for a long, long time. And when a similar situation occurs during their work, the vivid graphic comes back to their minds, perhaps causing them to smile knowingly for what to avoid. They have seen the consequences and they will avoid putting themselves in that similar accident-prone situation.

Does it make sense then to use eye-catching cartoon graphics to influence safety behavior in people? I think it might work when we expose people sufficiently over a long period of time. The messages must sink into their subconscious mind so that it becomes second nature to them.

There had been a lot of propaganda graphics created during the world wars and also during political campaigns. Many of them used cartoons to influence the thinking of the masses. People in advertisement use a lot of graphics – all for one purpose – to influence people’s impression or buying behavior.

Truly, cartoon posters with the proper messages can influence people’s behavior. That should be good news to safety professionals. It’s a tool with a lot of potential.

If you are involved with safety, where can you obtain suitable safety posters that are both cheap and good, where you can store in your computer, and print at any time you want? You might find the 50 downloadable poster images contained in the e-book “Construction Safety with Mabuk” that can be downloaded at very useful. Safety posters can be printed on any normal printer straight from the computer anytime. It’s so convenient and practical.

Prevention of accidents is certainly better than cure. It’s so much cheaper too. It’s so funny!

A Breakthrough System For Influencing Safety Behavior
50 funny safety posters for download at
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