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Rather shocking restaurant safety PSA from Canada


Some people will find this upsetting to watch. I'm wondering if they show this on TV or in culinary school or ?

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  1. The restaurant equivalent of Red Asphalt.

    1. That ad has been airing frequently here in Toronto. In fact, my husband just came upon it twice while flipping through the channels a few minutes ago. It's really disturbing.

      1. That was so incredibly disturbing. I have been to CIA and watched some horrific videos at school but that puts it all to shame. Wow - don't know what else to say.

        1. Horrifying. This is why I don't let my son (4) turn on the tv by himself. Is Canada having a big problem with kitchen accidents or something?

          1. Horrible! Of course they did say they showed this during hockey games. What's up with that?

            When our daughter started working in a kitchen she was required to get special shoes. Non skid, thick soles, and very expensive, but worth it because of the safety issues, as shown in this PSA.

            1. Yikes! What is the purpose of showing the Canadian public a woman with her face burning off? Seems like something the home cooking public doesn't need to see.

              1 Reply
              1. re: coasterphil

                This ad is just one in a series of WSIB ads covering lots of different industries. All are pretty horrific. I have met the head of WSIB and he does not apologize in any way, nor do I think he should. They are all realistic unfortunatley.

                The first time I saw it I was shocked. Speechless. I told the chefs where I work about and as I'm describing it, they are laughing at how crazy it sounds. Then they watched it. I have never in my life seen 1 chef, let alone 10 with nothing to say. Now safety is being talked about as more than a joke. Which is the point.

                Where I work we have a back stairs that we have tried continually to make safer without really dedicating that much time or effort. Everyone is busy with a million other things. I have watched a sous drop a stock pot of duck fat, seen countless front and back of house slide and fall resulting in trips to the hospital for multiple stitches or sprains, a mustard explosion when a delivery guy lost his shipment. It was accepted as a part of working there. Now there is more serious dicussion revolving around this hazard. It needs to be a greater priority.

              2. I'm generally not a censorship supporter, but if I turned on my TV and saw that commercial, especially with two little toddlers in the house, I would be EXTREMELY upset. It was aired during a hockey game? We watch football on Sunday as a family. If that came on during a football game, I'd be letter writing fool complaining to anyone I could think of associated with it. It is one thing to have something like that on a TV show that you can easily choose not to watch, it is another thing to air it as a commercial with no announcement that it is coming on. I hope they only air this late at night. Really, that isn't even safe anymore with DVR and Tivo being so common. It is already so hard to monitor what my kids see on TV without purposefully airing commercials like this. That kind of thing is appropriate for industry distribution only! I would invite anyone connected to this to come to my house at 3am and explain to my 2 year old why she shouldn't be scared about her nightmares about people's faces burning off.

                  1. i liked her totally unacceptable bling-ring. i'm assuming that wouldn't fly in canada any more than it would in u.s.a. . .

                    why don't they have any mats on their floors?

                    1. The first time I saw this, I screamed "Oh my fucking God!" It is horrific. And, that's a very good thing. I think that the WSIB's "shock therapy" will be effective. I worked in the surface operation of a mine years ago, and even in the most apparently inocuous circumstance, a great deal can go very wrong (I was once afraid that I had been rendered deaf because someone had been careless, and at least that's not life-threatening). I saw an interview with the head(?) of the WSIB on Sunday morning on CBC, who said that people have become much more safety conscious about public safety issues such as drinking and driving, and wearing seat belts, and he wants to bring that same level of consciousness to the workplace. If I remember his figure correctly, in 2006 there were 101 industrial deaths in Ontario (pop. 12million), and the cost of industrial accidents to the provincial economy is $15billion per annum. I think that for most people, the possibility of a workplace accident remains a distant abstraction until it happens. This PSA brings the reality home.

                      Here is a link to the interview:
                      It is worth viewing, but you will see a couple of the PSAs.

                      1. you know, i don't have a soundcard here on the work computer, so i can enjoy this psa in the same way as watching a horror movie with the sound turned off. hmm there's some teenagers being sexually active, bet they're going to die in an unpleasant way. hmm. here's a young, attractive female exec chef who's apparently enjoying a short-lived success. bet she's gonna end up on the floor with a gratuitous shot of her face burned off. maybe it will teach all the young canadian women to stay out of jobs traditionally assigned to men.

                        interesting that they're showing this exploitative psa during hockey games.

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: soupkitten

                          It's not gratuitous if it actually causes people to think seriously about workplace safety. It's not just during hockey games that this PSA being shown, so if you think that this is a surreptitious attempt to encourage woman to get back into the home "because it's too dangerous for the weaker sex out there", I think that you're missing the point, especially since one of the PSAs shown in CBC link which I included above is of a young man killed in a warehouse.

                          And to be clear, the link is *not* to the PSAs themselves - it is to the interview with Tom Beegan of the WSIB, and Al Johnson of WorksafeBC.

                          Perhaps it's because I grew up and worked in a mining and lumbering community, and I've known people killed in those industries, but I'd rather that people be grossed out rather than killed by workplace negligence.

                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                            hmm-- let's watch it together:
                            she's plating at a snail's pace, speaking into the camera, using only one hand (she's an actor, not a real chef-- if she was one, this would be a credible psa)
                            she flashes the bling ring (yup, it's big enough to choke any health inspector. no chef would wear that)
                            despite the fact that a moment ago there were three or four line cooks scurrying around behind her with hot things, sharp things, and other dangerous items, she begins to turn her entire body and walk while she keeps talking to the camera. (nope, never worked in a kitchen in her life-- THIS is where the accident would have really occurred, in my experience)
                            she lifts a stock pot containing only an inch or 2 of water in it (otherwise she couldn't carry it with the bottom *below her waist* without risk of scalding herself) and begins to carry it incorrectly (not a chef). she could only be planning to put this hot pot on the floor, but before she can do this she slips on the floor because she isn't wearing proper kitchen shoes and hasn't put down slip-mats anywhere in the kitchen.
                            there is a conflagration because the water hits the deep-fryers, which are set up next to the stove instead of on the other side of the blodgett, despite the fact that the hood vent runs the whole length of this part of the kitchen.
                            (at this point in my silent movie, i distinctly hear butthead's voice: "uuh, huh-huh --bam--!" seriously, doesn't everyone hear that?
                            lars, the seven-foot-tall salad cook with a shaggy dog haircut and no hat runs over. "help!" screams lars: "i need some barrettes, right now!"
                            gratuitous shot of the woman's face: screaming, burned, broken.
                            "there are no accidents"
                            apparently, there are no accidents, only women exec chefs who are too big for their britches, who are going to be disfigured and ruined by their own incompetence. stupid b***hes.
                            sorry, worked in restaurants too long to buy it as anything more than a cheap shock-thrill. i think we all know that they wouldn't have bothered to shoot this same scenario with a male actor playing the exec.

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              You are really taking the wrong message from the PSA. Have you actually watched it with sound at all, or is this just your own script?

                              The "there are no accidents" is not some retro-neanderthal anti-feminist slogan, as you seem to think. Did you see the other PSA on the CBC site (toward the end of the interview) where the *man* is impaled? Is that anti-feminist? The "there are no accidents" means that these work place injuries are preventable. I think that your kitchen experience has (as it would anyone) allowed you to pick apart your "silent movie" without looking at the broader message, which is not anti-feminist. Get back to me when you watch the CBC link.

                              And as I said above, when you've known fatal victims of work place accidents, you have a sensitivity to the message. I don't care about the gender - I care about the life.

                              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                hey H.P.

                                good to know there are other psas by this same group where dudes are horrifically maimed and disfigured. . . uh, i think.

                                i've got 2 main problems with this short but horrifying piece. the first is that while in other industries sexism is maybe dying out --another whole subject i don't want to go into-- in the restaurant industry sexism is extremely alive and well and the psa looks a lot like some pratfall setup commonly used to haze new workers in restaurants, particularly females, gone horribly, horribly wrong. after being told that females can't be chefs because they supposedly need to urinate more than once in a six hour period of time, or that they supposedly can't carry a 10-gal pot by themselves, etc. ad nauseum, i tend to call things like this like i see it.

                                more importantly, psas are supposed to help people identify dangers, not scare the everliving c##p out of them for no good reason. i think that no matter who you are, the normal first reaction to seeing this psa is "omg that is horrible!" okay, the perfect storm of incompetence and events resulted in a bad workplace accident in a kitchen. but the psa isn't being played for cooks, it's being played for accountants, librarians, mechanics, stay-at-home parents and their children, retired parents of people working as chefs, high school kids-- and now all of them have a skewed impression about safety in kitchens. they don't know that 10 mins of training and proper footwear could have made the difference in this case, they're just seeing the gratuitous burned-face-shot. . . and they will say "omg that's horrible" until they no longer register the horror, just that this type of thing must happen in kitchens all the time.

                                if you show the psa to cooks, otoh, well, here's how i reacted:
                                1st time: "omg! that's horrible!"
                                2nd time: exactly what i put in my earlier post: "

                                i liked her totally unacceptable bling-ring. i'm assuming that wouldn't fly in canada any more than it would in u.s.a. . .

                                why don't they have any mats on their floors?"

                                3rd time: "and she doesn't have kitchen shoes on-- where the hell is that guy's hat?"

                                4th: "this is ridiculous." (calling dh over) "hey, check out what happens to this canadian bimbo--"

                                dh's 1st viewing: "omg-- that's horrible!" soupkitten: "i know-- do you want to see it again?" dh: "okay-- that was really messed up."

                                dh's 2nd viewing: "wait, why don't they have a mat there?" soupkitten: "it's more and more stupid the more times you see it. total crap."

                                so when the pros watch it, it loses all impact because it's not a credible scenario. it could be much more harmful than helpful-- for example i might assume that i'm immune to a workplace accident because i don't carry a stockpot like a chimpanzee or that i've put a mat down in an area where spills occur, and i might actually let my guard down when it comes to safety because in my own head i've *got* to be smarter than the canadian bimbo who doesn't even make her crew wear hats. . . meanwhile my mom's calling telling me to get a job in a nice, safe cubicle somewhere, and i'm suddenly not seeing any work applications from young, qualified female cooks. . .

                                training is the solution to workplace accidents. the woman portraying the chef in the psa received zilch-- not a real-world scenario. the psa scares people for no good reason, tapping into shock, fear and disgust reactions from an audience that's too broad. i'm sure that the other psa you describe has the same effect: "wow that's horrible. i'm glad i work in a nice safe cubicle/as a stay-at-home parent/as a kodiak bear poacher-- rather than working in a horribly dangerous place like a warehouse. . ." these psas create widespread fear, or worse, indifference rather than focused, constructive change based on know-how in the industries they portray. maybe they should get a real chef or kitchen mgr to do the next safety psa.

                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  AMEN! This crap is all about shock value. If they really wanted to impact people in various industries, it would be distributed as industry training videos, not public service announcements. All stuff like this will do is desensitize people to it, especially if it is repeated over and over.

                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                    I'm not going to address sexism in the kitchen Different issue, and I don't doubt its existence. That said, I think that you're seeing what you want to see.

                                    I refer you to CamD's post, above. The PSA seems to be having the desired effect. His cohort have a new awareness of the safety issue. And beyond that, I don't think that general public thinks of the kitchen as being a dangerous place (we know it is), and by challenging that illusion, it might make the general public realise that danger is everywhere, such as the PSA of the woman falling off a ladder in a (clothing?) shop.

                                    And, has anyone on this thread bothered with the CBC link which I provided?

                                    1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                      well, okay. i guess my first clue that the stairwell at CamD's establishment was dangerous would have been when the first person slipped, fell & had to go to the hospital, and i would have concentrated on the stairwell at that time to make it safer, not several accidents later after seeing a badly done, disturbing psa. . . on the other hand, i've often been accused of thinking too much. . .

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        Jesus Christ... the whole point of the announcement is to prevent the FIRST accident from happening, not to make employers "react" faster to accidents. The stairs may look precarious, but if no one has gone to the hospital from it for 5 years it may not be fixed and perhaps on the 6th year someone may trip and die. Presumably one who watches the commercial will be reminded of those precarious stairs, figure that one day somebody may trip and die from it and take steps to fix it before the first big incident happens.

                                            1. re: Blueicus

                                              i used to work at a kitchen 15 years ago that had a really scary staircase. it's about 25 feet of poured concrete stairs, with a blind, hairpin turn close to the bottom. standing at the top of the stairs, you look down and say to yourself: "if i were to take a tumble down these, serious injury or death would surely result. if i walked away from the accident it would be a miracle." over the years, bosses made improvements to make the staircase safer: painting it a lighter color, improving the lighting, putting in good handrails, maintaining the anti-slip surfaces of the stairs.

                                              in my day, the whole staff working in the prep kitchen below would bound up this staircase with full baker's trays of salads or desserts on glass plates to the dining area above. everyone would yodel, or sing, or exclaim "CHAAAARGE!" a la teddy in "arsenic and old lace" to alert co-workers that they were coming up loaded, in order to reduce the chances of a disastrous collision. i personally sang sea shanties at the top of my lungs. did everyone think we were nuts? oh certainly. but everyone was *trained* to do this in order to reduce injury. the delivery guys, everyone knew about it. i just went back and visited the old kitchen and some more recent boss has installed a convex mirror at the blind hairpin turn. obviously an important new safety feature, eliminating the need for singing or making rooster noises while ascending the staircase-- i'd probably do it anyway, because it was fun. . .

                                              anyway, to my knowledge nobody's fallen down those stairs in over 30 years. does that mean that someone won't fall down them tomorrow and be seriously injured? well no. would an actor with no kitchen training, wearing thong sandals and asked to carry something, anything, up the staircase while looking earnestly into a camera, be more likely to injure herself? almost certainly. you do what you can to make the workplace safer, and keep untrained doofuses from moving as much as possible before they're trained, but accidents still will happen. whether or not people are getting hurt, mgrs should always work at making the workplace safer. it shouldn't be taking CamD's bosses & mgrs watching several bad accidents happen on their stairs to be making these changes, and more importantly, training their people about safety. "are members of my staff getting injured? check. would osha ding us on this? check. if someone was seriously injured, could they turn around and sue us? check. does my establish more closely resemble a restaurant or circus?" if the answers are yes, yes, yes, and circus, fix your stairs.

                                              i appreciate that most people on this thread seem to not care about the accuracy of this psa, in favor of "message." my issue is that this woman could never be performing the tasks at the level that is being portrayed without knowing how to carry an effing pot correctly, let alone other errors. . . you know, you might as well put out a psa showing a 15 year old with his driver's permit driving a diesel tanker truck down a mountain with the voiceover: "here's why this isn't a good idea." thanks captain obvious. don't let completely untrained people work the most complicated station in the kitchen. it isn't rocket science and the inaccuracy of the psa should not be dismissed as unimportant.

                                              after all, pro kitchens are full of hot things, sharp things, rice cookers big enough to stew grown men, things that can be dropped on toes, things that would hurt our heads if we slipped and fell. . . it's potentially a freaking nightmare, and if i were to go out onto the street and gather radio journalists, actors, lawyer, and bums, bring them back to the kitchen and say "feed these hundred people," i might as well preemptively start calling the ambulance. the reality is that i've worked front of house and back of house for 17 years and have never experienced or witnessed a serious work-related injury (not counting assaults). it's not because the working conditions were perfect. it's not because i carry around a magic aura of safety around with me. it's because people are trained. over and over it's proven that the customers are much more dangerous to restaurant staff than regular work conditions.

                                              if you removed every potentially hazardous thing from a pro kitchen you'd be left with one dude sitting on a floor mat playing with a rubber spatula and a 2 quart cambro full of lukewarm water. you can't totally eliminate every potential danger and still get the job done!

                                              the psa's staged accident could have been completely avoided by any of the following: placing the deep fryer on the other side of the blodgett; putting a $15 mat on the floor; training the chef in the bone-basic method of carrying a pot correctly. what does the commercial say about how this "accident" could have been avoided? does it say a word about the chef's improper training, or would it have us blame equipment for human accidents, or leave it vague: "we can all prevent this type of thing". if the psa doesn't indicate any training, i really feel that it's designed to scare and shock, but not educate. thanks for reading.

                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                The WSIB is not aiming "to scare and shock" as an end in itself - they're not producing Halloween 15 or whatever. You seem to forget a basic fact about humanity: people do stupid things, or neglect to do smart things, all the time. But then, as you said, maybe you think too much, and better than the rest of us.

                                                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                  Well, we stupid plebeians need a helpful reminder every now and then.

                                                  edit: see, can't even spell reminder correctly the first time.

                                                2. re: soupkitten

                                                  I hear what you are saying.

                                                  I didn't sit there trying to find things that are wrong with the psa. But if there are glaring mistakes like her ring or carrying the pot I do notice. So when I see inaccuracies with something that I am familiar with then it makes me question the accuracy about the other spots and things that I am not familiar with.

                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                    It's true that when we notice a technical error, it is a distraction. The thing is, this isn't an instructional video, nor are the others supposed to teach you how to drive a forklift, etc. The only purpose is to get you to think about workplace safety.

                                                    The funny thing about the ring, for me, is that immediately thought of Jennifer Patterson, God rest her soul. She never took her rings off, regardless of what she was making.

                                            2. re: hungry_pangolin

                                              I tried to view the CBC link, but the link for the video was broken and all I could access were the comments.

                                              I used to typeset safety manuals, that went along with videos, for training purposes. Do they not do that anymore? It was for all different types of industry.

                                              1. re: danhole

                                                I just took the link for a test drive, and before the interview played in an embedded screen, and now it launches in windows media player. Might that be the problem?

                                                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                  It says it is in an "unknown format" and cannot be played on Windows Media Player. Maybe it's a US/Canada thing!

                                  2. Hate to say it but this add would not have the same 'shock' value if it was an average looking guy who was hurt.

                                    If anything I found it distracting, because the 'chef' was not working like a real chef would especially with that ring.

                                    But I do see the point that they were trying to make.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      Agreed. It's important to remember, though, that this is one of at least four adds about workplace safety (other venues are a clothing shop, a warehouse, and a construction site). It's not a cooking demonstration.

                                      1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                        I can't remember what I was watching when my husband and I first saw the ad, and while it is a little shocking, it really just struck us as a continuation of what has been a series of ads from the WSIB. I remember being shocked by the first one that came out (can't remember if it was the warehouse one or the retail store one) because it was just so direct and unflinching. To me that is key here - this is being discussedand dissected on Chowhound because of its kitchen focus, but for Ontarians in general (who are the target audience), it is part of a ongoing campaign. I am quite sure that my friend who is designs the inside of retail stores could pick apart the retail ad for its accuracy as could someone who works in a warehouse. What I myself took out of the ads, as someone who is familiar with the Ontario Health and Safety Act and works in a very safety concious workplace, is that the messaging (maybe not clear to those whose links don't let them hear it) that *everyone* in the workplace is responsible for safety (the Internal Responsibility System), which is a a newer message.

                                        1. re: JennaL

                                          That is the message I was trying to formulate in my head. Well said.

                                    2. We are fortunate that we live in time that the sacrifices of a few can provide for the safety for so many and the not so distance past we were at the merci that those we worked for and that the conditions that they provided in our work place. New jobs were created when people died on the job, we should be thankful that we live in a time were we have programs that require companies to provide a safe work environment. In the last week I lost a dear friend in an industrial accident, so even today accidents still claim lives on the job. Although these videos may be horrific it is a necessary evil to grab the attention of the uninformed. The fact is small businesses make up the majority of employment in society today. Those who work for small businesses need to be informed that they have the right and the expectation to work in a safe environment. As an employee you have the right to refuse to work in unsafe condition. Stay informed and stay alive!