Safety Aphorisms and Platitudes

Safety Aphorisms and Platitudes

safety signSomeone recently posted a photo of an old safety sign from NC Transport Museum on LinkedIn. Its a great find of an interesting artefact. I am not sure how old it is and it was probably considered to be amazingly insightful in its day. We often laugh at these very early and traditional approaches to safety.

But, it troubles me to think of the number of times I have seen similar signs and slogans in modern workplaces.  So many organisations have not yet progressed past the use and reliance on illogical, simplistic and meaningless slogans, aphorisms and platitudes like “safety is our no 1 priority”

Classic response: by Keith McCabe on Linkedin: Since Linkedin is all about aphorisms these days here’s an aphorism about aphorisms. “It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don’t say it”

Quote: It’s high time that we stop treating safety like it’s some mystical secret.  Let’s stop hiding behind the platitudes and get to work. – Phil Laduke – HERE


Aphorism: “a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation”, eg “Less is More”

Platitude: “a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.”  eg “Good things come to those who wait”

More interesting articles on this topic:

Sayings, Slogans, Aphorisms and the Discourse of Simple


‘Tis the season to be decorating the workplace with safety slogans so I thought I should republish this classic: Sayings, Slogans, Aphorisms and the Discourse of Simple One of the most annoying things about social media, especially Linkedin (as its intention is to be professional), is the constant flooding of the airwaves with the quest to be …… Read the rest of the article

Safety Slogans Don’t Save Lives

image_thumb.pngUnfortunately one of the most popular pages on this blog is our Safety Slogans Page (last week, during Indian Safety Week, it was getting 40k hits per day!).  Rob Long wrote of the futility and danger in using safety slogans here: Sayings, slogans, aphorisms and the discourse of simple. Hopefully we can introduce the safety ……Read the rest of the article


Safety – Not The Number One Priority

safety-third.jpgSafety – Not The Number One Priority I have upset so many Safety Spuds over the years when I have said: “Safety is not the No1 Priority, never has been, never will be and never should be!” Unfortunately some just do not think things through before going off on their crusades! No statement has ever caused …… Read the rest of the article


Is Safety a Choice You Make?


Is Safety a Choice You Make? One of the things safety seems good at doing is developing illogical slogans and sayings. Some examples are: ‘all accidents are preventable’ and ‘safety is no accident’. The trouble is what we say affects the thinking of others and sets cultural agenda. Half of this silly stuff comes from people …… Read the rest of the article

As always, I would love to hear of any meaningless safety aphorisms and platitudes that you have seen in modern workplaces. You can even upload images in the comments below.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below