This Toaster Is Hot

This Toaster Is Hot – Safety Overkill!

Stupid Safety Rules, Crazy Safety Signs and Warning Labels.

What is wrong with these safety photos?


Examples of Safety People TELLING basic or obvious safety stuff to people. Feel free to send us things you have found that demonstrate how Safety People insult the intelligence of others. This constant superiority by safety people can be extremely annoying and totally counterproductive. Telling people all the time about stuff we already know, simply demonstrates that they don’t understand why people do what they do. Email your photos and descriptions to .


Risk Homeostasis Theory tells us that safety signs will likely fail if:

  • They appear to be more about absolving the erector’s liability
  • They over exaggerate the risk
  • If we see others ignoring the sign and no action is taken
  • They tell us what NOT to do rather than what TO do

See: Do Safety Signs Cause More Harm Than Good?

Safety sign posters should also understand semiotics and the critical importance of unconscious communication. Be aware that it’s not about what signs SAY to people, it about what they DO to people.

You should also read a few of our recent related articles:  Making Objects or People Safe  –  The Safety Policeman  –  Safety Professionals Behaving Badly   –  What is it that you do here?  –  How to read People    And the Formula is…  –   Are we victims of our own systems?  –  Semiotics and the unconscious messages we send  –  Sensemaking and Signs

A long list of silly safety signs:

sharp plant
I hope there is a good story behind this and not some safety person’s crazy imagination??


imageI’m so glad I crossed with care!Amazing how Safety doesn’t know it’s own language of meaninglessness.
remove childLife hacks………I feel like such an idiot! I’m glad I learned this now that my kids are so much bigger
yellow lineA little more positive
no safety smoking firstoops!
ministry of riskThis was inevitable!
air brakesYes they do!
Is this what they mean by breaking wind?
pedestrian crossing warningSee how much we really care about idiots like you!! Does this mean we can only walk on the white lines? Don’t worry about the cars – of course they will stop – its another rule!
This is just screaming for people to rebel against!
safety callYes this is is legitimate – See how much we care about you and your safety? – leave a message with our machine anytime, no more need for conversations!! Anyone who would actually follow this process must really care about safety!!You can tell how much the people on this site really appreciate it!!And if you select Option 1 or 2 then its instant dismissal for failing to follow safety instructions!!Check out:  Risky Conversations, The Law, Social Psychology and Risk – All this is doing is building a database of non-conformances – that will not look good in court
common senseSo how do I know if I have enough common sense? If I had none then I would surely enter as I would not have enough common sense not to? If it did exist then I am sure Safety doesn’t have much of itSeeThe Common Sense Mythology
safety pulpitThe Safety Pulpit: “Thou shalt take more care and choose safety as your No1 Priority lest thy shalt feel my wrath”
Barrier ManWatch out Hazardman!
Bear warningSafety can be unbearable!
Fatality free fridayAnd if fatalities go down on Friday it must be because of advertising or because we ‘choose’ to be safe. Those who don’t pledge must want to kill people and those who pledge and have an accident must not be trying hard enough. Omg more dumb down safety.
safe shirt fridayWhat about all the other days?
safety ladderSafety Was Here!
horseshoesTaken at a construction camp in Ontario, Canada. Horseshoes in sandpits can be a risky game. Thanks to Joel B. for sending in
cycle safetyAs long as we do something that looks like safety! Don’t forget about the by-products
armedWow – how much damage is this sign really doing to the kids it claims to protect??
safety recordI dare you to report an injury in this department now!
golf ballsPar for the course!
safetyIf only it were that simple!
Its the lawThat’s what the sign says!
tshirtI hope these aren’t serious!
safety nothing happensOh dear! This wasn’t thought through!
Kick Ass RideOn a kids ride at a local carnival – check out rule No10
”Most of All Have A Kick A$$ Awesome Time”
not-to-be-used-as-a-hard-hatIs it more effective to tell people what things are for?
dont lick the bowl“Do not eat batter batter as it contains raw eggs” On a chocolate cake mix – even licking the bowl will kill you now!!
wedding 2wedding 1
How do you watch your own eyes?Dangerous wedding in progress!!
imageAnd they wonder why people ignore signs?
safety signThe perfect safety sign
Tree HazardAnother one from the Botanical Gardens in Sydney!
imageHow to keep “everyone safe” – I had no idea it was that simple!
Products made from grapes cause more harm!So stop removing grapes from other people’s bags!
no divingWould not surprise me to see this in some workplaces!
airport-signSo how do they let people get this close anyway?Thanks to James Parkinson from for sharing the image
funny_road_signs_011Thanks to James Parkinson from for sharing the image
dont tell me how to do my jobSelf explanatory
ironyzero just gets dumber and dumber! How’s the irony?
Tree warningBeware of the rare yellow trunked footpath tree
remove childGreat advice – thankyou safety person
tree rootsWhat was the root cause of the incident?
plastic bagDon’t worry about the chainsaw!
f witsWhat’s a “FUNWIT”?
if its not safeDefine safe?
safety sign 123They wondered why people ignored this sign?
I love a good joke but………..
Tree signTree warning fail – was this written by a committee?
FOT9F75Well this one certainly ruined what was a really cool display at an aircraft museum!

Thanks to Tony Jenkins for this one:
”Had this sent to me from an employee that has just returned from a 3 week holiday with his family to Vietnam. He found this sign outside the front of a large construction site in Singapore & suggested it might be a good sign to use on our sites over here! (I think he now has a much clearer understanding of why Zero Tolerance etc. doesn’t work!) I think this a good example of what not to put on a safety sign! To some extent, it’s a shame that so much gets lost from the original intent of the safety message through translation from one language to the next. The main PPE poster (obviously based on the idealistic, zero tolerance approach to safety) mandates the wearing of all manner of PPE including long sleeves, long pants, respiratory protection, protective eye wear at all times, but has omitted one of the most common risks in construction being excessive noise! The additional messages on the sign are very confusing. Does the one on housekeeping imply that they use child labour to clean the site? None of the other workers depicted are wearing all of their mandated PPE! It leaves me wondering what the compliance rate would be on the site?”

Words matter, and so does the choice of images!!

CKL3xcWWcAAVfdASome people in the UK are complaining that this road works safety sign is sexist – but I am more concerned for the welfare of the child who is making and erecting them.
laddersUse both hands to carry stuff?Thanks to James
Crane-And-Safety_74238_imageWas that training at Kindergarten?
I hope he is trained to operate a crane as well?Thanks to James Parkinson
safety sign failIts important to understand semiotics
your aim will helpMaybe if I wasn’t too busy reading the sign……….
IMG_6651That annoys me as well but don’t put this up in front of your shop if you want to encourage customers to come inside!
imageDon’t worry – you are quite safe from passive smoke on the outside of the blue tape. Perhaps they are referring to the tinder dry hay which will be smoking shortly as well!
Safety Suggestion Boximage
Read about safety suggestion boxes HERE
safety signOld safety sign from NC Transport Museum. You would probably find the same thing in many modern workplaces. Not sure how old it is and it may have been amazingly insightful in its day but it is a worry that so many years on so many organisations have not progressed past the use and reliance on simplistic and meaningless aphorisms and platitudes like “safety is no 1 priority”Comment 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”
Old People Racing BuggiesFrom my local shopping centre – “mobility scooter riders slow down” – knowing this centre its probably from their CCTV footage!
imagecanada hot coffeeGotta Love Canadians: “If this was another country we would have to warn you this coffee may be hot. Good thing this is Canada!”
imageIs this an award you would like to win? Elitism is poison for any culture. Can you imagine the selection criteria.
WP_20141006_001What amazes me about this one – if you are blind, there is a real risk that you may bump into the box.  But then, you would also not be able to read the sign.One picture shows the sign, the other the location.  Even if you did step back, how bad would the injury be? Wynand SAWP_20141006_002
lock carOh Ok – since you said please! On the wall of a shop on South Africa. Did the store owner think he would be sued for not warning his customers? do you think they realise what message this primes about the store itself being unsafe to visit?
This is a great photo of a sign at a UK Zoo sent in by Peter C, such a polite sign, as if the bats are likely to warn you!bat poo
zero accident plus

What the hell does this slogan mean? What are his work mates or people on the street going to think when they are walking behind him?

  • Plus what?
  • More than zero accidents?
  • Go home in better shape than when you arrived?
  • If I don’t get hurt I get a bonus?
  • If I do get hurt I better not tell anyone?
  • Harm is OK if it wasn’t an accident?
  • Words like Zero and Accident sound better if you add a positive?
  • Zero is behind us now?
  • This is way better than any other Zero slogan?
What a way for stupid safety to influence public attitude and ruin an interesting exhibit – why not say something positive “this is a historical relic please respect our history”?
ziper harm penisIt doesn’t say how?
imageI guess it means you cant wear your cap backwards while urinating…..probably a safety thing.
No stupid peopleBuilding site sign – wonder why there was nobody working there? So high IQ people don’t get hurt?When the person who puts up the sign makes their next mistake, does that mean they are stupid?
Are kids just going to go up and cuddle one?
Playground outside of Byron Bay, NSW
beware of snakes
I can think of some much better reasons! On a Mr Potato Head box.
To avoid injury – don’t tell me how to do my job!dont tell me how

10 Fun Facts–Cognitive Bias

This is brilliant! Thanks to Rob Long

Don’t believe everything that you read!Read wrong
Surely this cant be serious? Spotted recently at a mine site!mining wheelbarrow
These 3 safety warning labels are from who do an annual wacky warning label award. See them here: Wacky Warning LabelsThanks to Bruce for these resources.Iron_On_Warning_left
IMG_6531I don’t know how my kids survived until I had read this sign
This sign was posted in the room of a major Hotel! Was this some knee jerk reaction to a one off incident that now implies all of us are idiots??
This just does NOT work – it only makes the 99% of parents who do the right thing feel really bad. The bad parents will just ignore this!What about:“Thanks for being such a great, responsible parent – we love you – your kids love you, you are welcome here anytime”???pool sign
Really – so nobody who stays at this resort has a normal shower/hot water system at home or has ever stayed in another place with one? If I was a guest here I would be offended at being treated like an idiot!1497350_10203134593595097_380727610_n
OMG god – this place has so many kinds of the extremely hazardous chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide – what about the cold and luke warm water and that bottle of green liquid!! And in a kitchen of all places!!1688548_590552367687832_591300722_n
Memories……….sucked off
Found this in the blokes loo’s today. I was going to test it out, but as it said “please, please, please” I thought I better not!photors
Warning sign on bolt cutters. I think it’s saying that if you cut into live power lines your hand will split in half and worms will come out.?


Homemade sign on a mine in northern Alberta. Does the sign refer to the physical or mental conditions of the men? Are the women working on the site slow or quick? Thanks to Joel Bartley

hand written safety sign

This was a Xmas card with a badge pinned between the two holes, the thought was ruined by the stupid safety message. I “safety pin” which you would use to get a splinter out of the kiddies finger!

xmas card

imageNo posting of stupid signs on public property?
My Dad sent me this one, it was in Ireland. It’s much better when you read it in with a concerning Irish accent….
Ummm – OK so what else are you supposed to do on a footpath???? What is the risk? Falling Koalas??No walking
Right, so serving McDonalds to someone on a motorbike is safer than serving to a pedestrian????McDonalds Safety
no peeingSelf explanatory sign from Cambodia – the aim is very clear
imageI took a pic the other day of a tap in a Main Street in North Sydney, that had a cage around it in case someone tripped on it. The sign above the tap says rainwater don’t drink???? Wtf?, how about the millions of Aussies drink rainwater each day???? You can’t drink from it anyway as it had one of those cap studs, really don’t these people have any idea about real safety??
This sign is in the front window of an Employment Services QLD Office!!!ESQ is a group of community-based not for profit organisations who provide an integrated service delivery model for quality employment and training services. In other words, they assist those who are out of work, and referred by Centrelink, to find employment.Really??? Isn’t it just SAFE TO ASSUME that if you are serious about finding work that you would probably wear some shoes?????
imageI guess some people have heard that too much coffee keeps you up all night?
Really Mr Safety Professional?
imageFor years I have taken advantage of these concrete surfaces known as “sidewalks”.  I find it strange how soft things feel nice underneath your feet, yet when you are walking a good hard surface does the trick.  However, too many times have I been taking in a good walk, and suddenly it goes south.  Grass, or any other non-paved surface sneaks its way in and suddenly I have to navigate uneven terrain!  If only I’ve had some warning! From Do we really need this
IMG_2879My daughter took this one at a local park. This way you don’t stand on a see saw or walk back up the slippery dip, children mustn’t explore, it’s dangerous.And this is also why children should NEVER climb trees!!
IMG_2669Maybe they should make a video and call it “dumb ways to die”
Spotted today in a major educational institution – a seat of learning?Some wit had written “Arts Degrees – Please Take One” on the the adjacent toilet paper dispenser LOL
be carefulFrom the Great Wall of Chinaimage
“I almost tripped down these stairs because the signs were so distracting!!!”I wonder what would start going on in the subconscious of someone negotiating these stairs every day?
Road Safety Signs in South AustraliaDrive like a wanker
Drive like a cock
imageOnly in Zero Harm QLD!

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