The 10 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Safety Posters Ever
Being an editor here at Cracked doesn't present much by way of workplace safety hazards, save the existential despair resulting from rare days when 99 percent of the submissions pile consists of stuff like "The 7 Most Cosmically Cruel Zero-Survivor Barge Accidents" and "The 19 Most Unpreventable Trolley Explosions."
Of course, I'm just one of Cracked's rare East Coast employees -- most of the staff is located in Los Angeles. And given that I've visited California maybe 10 days of my entire life, my conception of California is still mostly informed by the cover art of the 1989 Nintendo non-classic California Games. So yeah, I assume my co-workers are constantly being torn asunder by hacky sack and Frisbee golf accidents.
On a similar note, I'm unsure if my co-workers have heads.
But I digress. Ever since humanity reached a (very) tenuous consensus that a full-time job in an asbestos mine is not a suitable birthday present for a 5-year-old, workplaces have been plastered with safety posters imparting such pearls of wisdom as "DON'T SEARCH BARRELS OF GASOLINE USING FIRE."
Or, as the way-more-German translation goes, "THAT IS SUICIDE."
And at some point between then and the onset of the modern office economy, the workplace safety poster has become a lost art. For one, our sensibilities regarding geysers of hilarious gore in safety education have changed. Gone are the safety videos that depicted your average warehouse as a secret murder maze and children's pamphlets like It's Great to Be Alive, which subtly informed kids that the 1950s were just a 10-year-long deathtrap invented by the Pentagon.
Reading this pamphlet is sort of like learning that McGruff the Crime Dog takes off his trench coat
and reverts to a feral state to execute convicts.
So here are 10 of the most ominous safety posters ever to grace break rooms across the globe. It's unclear if they improved morale, but these posters certainly filled workers with the fear of a dark and wrathful god -- a dark and wrathful god named DILIGENCE.
"Gravity, Enemy of the Proletariat!" -- Soviet Union
That sort of looks like a young Joseph Stalin. Can you imagine if he went out like that? If one clumsy construction worker hadn't been too hungover to come to work in 1917, Mister Trololo would've been elected general secretary by '75 and there would now be a Candy Bridge over the Bering Strait.
"No Threesomes for Deaf Men!" -- United States
A lot's going on in that poster, so I've translated it in layman's terms: "Tinnitus causes you to fumble a menage-a-trois with Betty and Veronica. Look at that crazy matching lipstick -- they're trying to impress you, buddy! And if you mumble confused bullshit at them, they'll citizen's-arrest you for reasons unconstitutional. Stay out of jail: Never neglect group sex with women wearing clown makeup."
"Electricity = Land Eels!" -- The Netherlands
The selling point of this poster is the Grim Reaper, because he's super exasperated that the dead guy won't be able to paint his house. He's all like, "Sweet Christ, Taco! I told you not to die before 5:30 p.m. Now I have to take time out of my busy day to ferry your soul across the River Styx. And FUCK ME, you forgot to put down the primer."
(ADDENDUM: Yes, "Taco" is a normal Dutch name. In fact, there's actually a pharmacoepidemiologist out in the world named Dr. Taco Monster. I bet he gets laid like a fiend.)
"Too Dorky to Die!" -- United States
"Nuts to you, buster"? Stop being blase, Macho Miner Randy ChestRug. Your co-worker is the Grim Reaper. He's a celebrity! That SOB is like the Lee Trevino of killing people. Get with the program and hide that dynamite in the latrine.
"Fuck, Fuck, FUCK!" -- Soviet Union
Call me crazy, but I'm beginning to suspect that nobody particularly enjoyed living in the Soviet Union. Well, except those scientists who invented Ivan Drago's boxing computer in Rocky IV. They seemed to have a good thing going on.
"Obey the Rules! Die 60 Years Later!" -- United States
"Please keep your head out of this vat of acid. If you don't, the minutes at this shit job will turn into hours to days to years to decades, and -- after a span that amounts to a tectonic queef on the geologic time scale -- you will look in the mirror and see that you have transformed yourself into a pruny ghoul who gives out pennies on Halloween. YOU are your own portrait of Dorian Gray. So please, keep your head out of this vat of acid."
"Your Job Is Snakes!" -- Romania
This is a strange poster, certainly, but many communist-era safety posters from Romania really knew how to get wildly abstract, what with such messages as "The Eye of Sauron mows down negligent workers with tractors."
"Mind the Garage Djinn!" -- The Netherlands
This motor pool safety poster dates back to the 1920s. I don't read Dutch, but I'm guessing that before fossil fuels went mainstream, drivers trapped evil genies in enchanted crankshafts and forced them to power automobiles using three wishes. ("Wish #1: Drive to the market. Wish #2: Drive to my house. Wish #3: Turn off the headlights HURRrrrk.")
"Lift With Your Vagina!" -- Israel
This poster -- which encourages "proper lifting" -- would be perfectly innocent if you worked in some sort of, uh, burlesque box factory, but the Hebrew word for "lifting" is jam-packed with innuendo. Finally, a poster that sexually harasses your workers so they don't waste precious company time sexually harassing each other!
"Secret Cult Is Death!" -- Nigeria
This incredible safety poster warns students about "secret cults," or criminal fraternities that operate on Nigerian university campuses. The artist went for broke, throwing in everything from Satan to cultist party girls to Jesus Christ firing Scripture passages and lightning bolts out of his hands.
"I had to whip out my electro-powers when all you bastards got jazzed about Thor."
This is but a sample of Southern Illinois University's collection of weird-ass Nigerian public awareness posters. Other key moments include an explanation of Sharia by way of Goofus and Gallant ...
... a poster explaining how pushy white businessmen need freshly harvested eyes for occult rituals ...
"Brett came to the country club sporting a garland of primo hazels. I won't be bested by that Dartmouth fuck."
... and finally, several helpful "Know Your Shapeshifter" diagrams, which hammer home that a skin-walker might be in your midst if your cat sprouts human breasts.
Santa grew suspicious when he began receiving money orders addressed to "The Deposed King Blitzen."
You can find Cyriaque Lamar on Twitter.