How Movies Can Make us All Safer, Part III

Movie quotes

In 2015 the MEMIC Safety Net blog featured two posts entitled “Frankly my Dear, I don’t Give a Damn” and “Famous Movie Quotes, Part Deux!” - each listed selected movie quotes from the American Film Institute’s Greatest Movie Quotes of all Time and related them to workplace safety.  Since it’s been three years and movies are as popular as ever, it’s time to revisit the topic and see how we can all be safer by following our favorite stars’ advice.

  • “You talking to me?”  Taxi Driver, 1976.  Workplace safety success is dependent upon good communication throughout the entire organization.  Everyone is responsible for safety, not just the Safety Director or the Safety Committee.  Yes, we are talking to YOU.  ALL employees have a role to play, especially in adherence to policies and communicating safety hazards to those responsible for infrastructure or policy changes/improvements. 
  • “Well, nobody’s perfect.”  Some Like it Hot, 1959.  Of course this is why a workplace safety program is so important.  It’s true, nobody is perfect.  We all make mistakes; human error is part of life.  However, we can reduce human error with proper training, supervision, and equipment.  Paying attention to details and behavior is a key to eliminating mistakes that can result in an injury.  Holding individuals accountable for the safety policies and investigating all incidents will also help reduce human error.
  • “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”  Midnight Cowboy, 1969.  This line was adlibbed by Dustin Hoffman when he was almost hit by a NYC taxi.  Well, almost 50 years later we’re seeing a dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths.  In fact, a 26% increase between 2013 and 2016.  This should be a very serious lesson in personal safety.  Distracted driving and distracted walking are real issues and are causing very real deaths. 
  • “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  Network, 1976.  Sometimes this is what it takes to become proactive in safety.  We should be mad that millions of people are injured each year in preventable incidents.  We should be mad that our coworkers are hurting and unable to perform their regular duties.  Not mad at those coworkers, but mad that these injuries are occurring.  Don’t let it come to this point for you.  Get busy preventing injuries and everyone can feel good about working in a safe environment for businesses that really care.  We simply can’t afford the alternative, either financially or morally.
  • “Carpe diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary.”  Dead Poets Society, 1989.  There isn’t much more important in life that one’s safety and health.  We all have goals and dreams we want to fulfill.  A serious injury can be a show stopper in many ways.  Live each day determined to make good decisions, don’t let production overcome safety, and make sure your coworkers are doing the same. 

The Hollywood Reporter conducted a recent survey and updated this list in 2016, but there were very few changes from the original AFI list.  It seems that famous movie quotes become part of popular culture forever.  If only the fundamentals of workplace safety were so widely known and adopted.  The world would be a better place to live in.  It’s time to do your part to prevent injuries.  “I am serious.  And don’t call me Shirley”.  Airplane, 1980. 

By Randy Klatt