When the video editors at WorkSafeBC began making their short, information workplace injury prevention videos and uploading them to YouTube, they probably never imagined they would be seen by millions of people around the world.
But the agency's clips have received over 25 million views and more than 18,000 subscribers worldwide, including a formal request from the U.S. Air Force to use one of them.
"I think it's just a factor of time and the interest people have in watching videos online now," said Gordon Thorne, the manager of product and program development for WorkSafeBC.
"They're developed for workers and employers and sometimes supervisors as well as health and safety specialists who deliver safety information to those workers."
The videos have been in production since 2006 and range from serious, real life situational examples of workplace accidents, to quicker, more humorous accounts of the dangers present at different job sites.
Thorne says each was intended to educate British Columbians on unsafe work practices, but he has no complaints about the videos' global popularity.
"We want to have an impact obviously in B.C. but if there's value everywhere else, why not make a contribution to saving workers around the world?"
U.S. Air Force impressed
It wasn't just individuals who found the videos to be informative and entertaining. The U.S. Air Force was recently in touch with WorkSafeBC to request the use of one of their more entertaining videos as part of their training.
"I got an email from the U.S. Air Force. They said 'we love this piece. It's really effective for our target audience in our Mishap Prevention Program for people who are 18 to 24 years old,'" said Thorne.
That video is a 70 second lego-inspired clip called Struck By Mobile Equipment that depicts an employee failing to comply with safe workplace practices.
"It's short. It's effective. It's interesting. It's different. It's entertaining and yet it still delivers the safety message."
Thorne acknowledges that a large number of the views they get most likely come from people not directly watching it as part of a work safety curriculum, but he says any way they can attract viewers to the important topic, is worth it.
"We have to try different ways to get people interested in occupational health and safety. It doesn't matter how they get there as long as they get a safety message and it makes a difference for them."