WSIB safety ads ‘slay’ among young workers

#PracticeSafeWork campaign 'killin it' with funny videos

WSIB safety ads ‘slay’ among young workers

Ontario’s Workplace Safety Insurance Board is “killin it” with its revamped #PracticeSafeWork campaign aimed at educating young people about the hazards they encounter at work.

“Our goal is to remind young people that workplace injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime,” explains Jeffery Lang, WSIB president and CEO. “The videos are funny, but their message couldn’t be more serious: you’re only human and unsafe work practices can get you injured or killed.”

98 young workers, under the age of 25, died in Ontario because of a work-related incident between 2012 and 2022. Last year close to 35,000 young workers were injured on the job.

The ads that are running on Youtube, Snapchat, Twitch, Instagram and other social media and video streaming services feature ants, geckos, birds, and kangaroos doing human-type jobs, and find themselves involved in accidents and near-misses.

“Things get very scary, very quickly. And a lot of times you try to scare people into a behavior choice that you want them to make,” explains Aaron Lazarus, WSIB vice president of communications, “this time, we wanted to do something a little bit different, and focus on something that's funny, that has a funny campaign, but a serious message.”

WSIB hit the mark, at least according to some social media users. WSIB killin it with these ads I can’t lie,” reads one comment. “They put a smile on my face and I’ve even shared them with my friends,” reads another, and one simply states “Slay ad.”

The target is young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who are likely working in the service industry, manufacturing, construction, and other potentially hazardous jobs. Lazarus says the goal is to spark a conversation about safety.

“Make sure that they're asking the questions like, how do I know what the health and safety rules are in my workplace? What are the hazards that I should be aware of? Is there any safety gear that I should be wearing? How does that work?”

Pushing those talking points among youth has always been the goal of the #PracticeSafeWork campaign, but it’s the comical delivery of the message that’s new from the WSIB. “It's a different approach in terms of the humor that we're using,” says Lazarus, “and it's really breaking through and reaching people and causing a lot of conversation, which is exactly what we want.”

Mark Cabanlig is a safety leader at a prominent construction company and the recipient of a Young Achievers award. He’s enjoying the ad campaign. “They’re succinct, vibrant and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a refreshing take on safety,” says Cabanlig, who may use them to reach workers on his team. “It garners a wider audience as they are easily digestible and uses a different approach from the conventional teaching methods.”

It's that constant learning and awareness the WSIB hopes to achieve. “It's a conversation that keeps going everyday in the workplace about what health and safety means, what the risks are… what steps people need to take to keep themselves safe,” says Lazarus.

Expect these videos to keep the safety conversation going for years to come.

Mark Cabanlig was recognized as one of this year's Top Safety Leaders Under 35. Learn more about the young winners here.