Workplace safety is no joke. It’s a very serious issue that affects all of us, whether we’re working in construction or sitting cozily in a cubicle. Hazards like crumbling ceilings, frayed wires, and the scourge of humanity that is asbestos can make your day go from fine to horrible. However, there’s humor to be found even in risky and dangerous situations.
The r/OSHA subreddit, named after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is dedicated to sharing lighthearted photos of people throwing work safety out the window. It’s all about having a bit of fun despite the obviously risky behavior the people in the images are engaging in (please don’t do what they do!).
Upvote the photos that really got your heart racing and let us know if you’ve ever been in a similar situation, Pandas. Still in the mood to feel better about just how safe you feel at your job? When you’re done enjoying this list, we invite you to have a look through Fashion Life’s previous articles about the legendary subreddit, r/OSHA, right here, here, as well as here. Happy scrolling! Just make sure to hang on tight, the railing’s a bit wobbly.
The subreddit has nearly 755k members and has recently celebrated its 8th birthday. r/OSHA has been showing off the comedic side of work safety hazards since the beginning of August 2013, and we’re incredibly glad that they exist.
There’s nothing like a few of r/OSHA’s best photos to get the adrenaline pumping through your veins. (Though if you’re terrified of heights like I am, you might want to glance away at some key moments, dear Readers. I literally got chills from some of these photos.)
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One of the subreddit’s moderators, reddtior -eDgAR-, previously spoke to my colleague about the online group. “It's not meant to be a place for serious discussions about safety, although, oftentimes comments can actually get into great analysis about the issues shown in posts, which is great," the mod told Fashion Life during an earlier interview.
According to -eDgAR-, timing is incredibly important when it comes to whether or not a particular photo or post might go viral. “We don't get a crazy amount of posts like other subreddits and have seen days with only a handful of posts. If you're one of the lucky first, chances are you'll get to the top,” they said.
The subreddit values original content very much, so if you have anything at all to submit, you should go for it! There are some rules that you should be aware of, however.
For example, you have to post funny scenes from your actual job, as well as its training or instructional videos. In other words, you can’t post any content that isn’t original. Which sounds absolutely fair! Keep in mind, though, that you can only post photos. Actual videos (or articles) are disallowed.
Serious work safety hazards are a daily part of life for structural inspectors. Unlike the people who get featured on r/OSHA, they’re very serious about staying safe. Earlier, I had a chat with a couple of structural inspectors from Alpha Structural, Inc., in California. Derek Marier shared with Fashion Life one of his “most nightmarish inspections” at a property in Portuguese Bend on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
"First off, because of soil conditions and high landslide risks, not much structural work can be performed there," Derek explained about the nightmarish property. “The home had a very interesting foundation system made up of screw jacks, steel beams, and cribbing (commonly used for temporarily lifting a structure while work is being done underneath).”
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He continued: “The front portion of the deck and home was sinking and unfortunately, the homeowner can’t really do much about it. It could have toppled over at any given moment and that’s why the 'nightmarish' description fits well," Derek explained.
According to Derek, safety is absolutely vital for everyone working at Alpha Structural, Inc. “Crawl suits, masks, gloves, steel-toed boots, and many other forms of safety precautions are taken. The chance that a building is actually going to fall over when we do our work is slim to none. Any actual danger is sniffed out pretty quick and avoided. If our guys think it’s unsafe to inspect or work on a location, they’ll make a call based on their best judgment and sometimes they choose to not do it. That’s just our safety policy!"
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Meanwhile, Ben Reinhart from Alpha Structural, Inc. shared his own experience with one of the most unsafe homes that he inspected. He visited this particular ‘gem’ back in 1992.
“We went to a 3-story hillside home located in Playa del Rey. The condition of the soil supporting the home was so bad that, during our assessment, we found that the home was cracking and actually moving. We are not alarmists in any sense but this was the first time we had to evacuate,” Ben shared with Fashion Life.
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“Temporary shoring was put in the next morning to prevent the home from collapsing. The complexity of the repair required, getting a large rig on a steep hillside to excavate a 55’ deepened foundation, made this one of the worst, most challenging in our long history. Let’s just say if we were on a reality TV show, this episode would’ve been a season finale,” Ben said.
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Ben also had some handy tips and tricks to help homeowners make sure that their homes are safe to live in. After all, you wouldn’t want to come to an unsafe home after a long, hard day working around safety hazards.
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“Basic maintenance will keep your home strong for a long time to come. Our advice would be to clean out gutters, ensure you have downspouts that direct water away from your foundation and see that the hardscape (walkways, patios, etc.) and landscape grade away from the home. Most foundation problems are caused by water and poor drainage,” he said.
“If you look under your home, check to see that there is no earth-to-wood contact. Not only will moisture from the ground get to the wood and cause rot, it also allows for wood-destroying organisms to get to the framing of your home. Additionally, earthquake retrofitting is a cost-effective upgrade encouraged by not only engineering communities but also local and state officials.”