The Best OSHA Violations Memes On The Web

Safety is a serious business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little fun into your programs. The Humor Effect is much studied in psychology and shows that people better remember information delivered in a humorous way. If you want some comic training aids for distributing to employees or for using in daily toolbox talks, or you just need a reminder of why safety professionals are still absolutely integral to the workforce, here is the list of the best OSHA memes.

Now This Guy Works at IHOP

The sight of a worker with his foot launched deep inside a wood chipper would surely make anyone wince. However, between 2011 and 2016, OSHA recorded a six-fold increase in the number of amputations caused by wood chipper incidents in the workplace. Many of these involved body parts being pulled into the chopper. Despite it seeming obvious that this a real danger, it appears that some workers are knowingly putting themselves in danger or simply do not know the dangers. 

As part of training anyone working with wood chippers, you can use this to illustrate your points. You should discuss best practices for usage, start-up and shutdown processes, and proper procedures for maintaining the machine. 

I’m No Expert But… I’m Pretty Sure OSHA Would Not Approve

This OSHA meme is like one of those pictures where you have to spot all of the hazards (and safety violators). Firstly, there is the worker standing on a ladder that appears to be ‘secured’ on the bed of the fast-flowing river. In addition, you have a colleague sitting in the bucket of an excavator, suspended over the side of the bridge in order to perform his tasks. 

OSHA has cited multiple companies for allowing an employee or a contractor to use an excavator bucket as a workstation. In 2011, OSHA found McCabe Construction Incorporated to have failed to “furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to fall, struck by and caught in hazards while working from and riding in an excavator bucket.” 

In handing out the citation, OSHA quoted the excavator manufacturer’s manual, as well as advice from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), all of which warn of the safety risks of such activity. 

No Hiding in Restroom During Safety Meetings

This is a fun way to reinforce the idea that safety meetings are important for staff to attend. The perception of safety meetings is that they can be dry and dull, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you can inject humor and engagement into the process then employees will not feel the need to hide away! 

The benefits of regular workplace safety updates could literally be the difference between life and death, so attendance and engagement are completely key. If you are looking for new ways to present important safety messages to your team, here are six funny safety talk ideas.  

If You Think OSHA is a Small Town in Wisconsin…

This meme about people not understanding what OSHA is and what it does puts across a very good point in a humorous way. Your workers would know about OSHA requirements because they are the regulations that will keep them and their colleagues safe on site. But they also need to know what can happen if the business is found to be in an OSHA violation. 

Even if you are lucky enough to not suffer injuries or fatalities from safety failings on-site, if OSHA finds that there are violations, they can still issue hefty fines. To put this into perspective, here is a list of the highest fines OSHA imposed last year. And here are the current OSHA maximum fines for the different types of violation: 

Maximum Fine
De Minimis
$13,494 per offense
$13,494 per offense
$134,937 per offense
$134,937 per offense with the possibility of criminal charges in the event of a fatality
Failure to Abate
$13,494 per day until citation remedied

You should ensure your employees know the consequences of safety failings, both in terms of injuries and for the finances of the company. A particularly large fine could be enough to make some businesses go bust. 

Oompa Loompas

One way to get employees thinking about safety is to make a humorous comparison with a source that everyone knows. That is why this meme, based on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story strikes a chord. Most workers will have read the Roald Dahl book, seen the 1970s film or the 2005 remake, and, so, will understand the reference. 

Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is an extreme example of a workplace with slack safety practices. A group of children meets hideous accidents one-by-one while the Oompa Loompa workers merely laugh and sing. However, there is a serious point to be made that everyone is responsible for safety on site. It is not just the responsibility of management or QSHE professionals. All workers should report hazards and maintain safety standards at all times. 

Lockout/Tagout Like a Boss

When using OSHA memes in your safety talks, they work particularly well as a conversation starter. For example, showing this Lockout/Tagout meme ahead of a refresher on LOTO is a great way to ease workers into what is a serious topic that needs scrutiny.

Using this meme can lead to a discussion of what the correct policy is in your workplace for the types of machinery that you run. If this is the unsafe way of doing things, what is the safest way to run your LOTO procedures

A fun meme puts people at ease and makes them more willing to listen to what you have to say while covering an important safety topic for manufacturing

Not Only Will This Kill You…

It is often worth reminding workers that safety is a serious topic. OSHA regulations are not in place to punish people or make life difficult. They exist to save lives and prevent injuries and suffering. Industry, construction, manufacturing, and similar sectors are often dangerous places to be and, without the necessary rules and requirements, there would be many more accidents every year. 

This meme is particularly blunt about what might happen if you do not follow the guidelines. It may be that carrying around and wearing PPE is a bit of a hassle, but, as this meme points out, the alternative is much, much worse. 

It is a prime example of how powerful humor can be in driving home a point. 

Please Do Not Have An Emergency

It can be easy to accept the fact that some facilities in a workplace break and are out of service for a while. However, the safety implications of that happening with something as vital as an emergency telephone would be catastrophic. 

The underlying message behind showing this meme is to highlight the problems that you can avoid when you are proactive about maintenance. If you have workers imagine the panic of being in an emergency and not being able to call for backup or help, it can be very thought-provoking. 

This meme can help you on your way to developing a great safety culture. One that not only results in reporting accidents after they have happened but also where everyone is confident enough to report near misses before they cause an incident. With a proper safety culture embedded in the workplace, someone would notice the emergency phone was broken and would inform the maintenance team who would repair it as a priority. When everyone works together, the site is a safer environment. 

I Forgot My PPE

This OSHA meme shows a worker on a site that has taken steps to ensure its staff remembers the essential PPE. If they forget, they have to wear this pink PPE with the words “I forgot my PPE” emblazoned on the back. 

It is a novel approach to a serious topic. Not only that, but it can be a great way of opening a discussion about whose responsibility PPE is. It may differ from workplace to workplace, but you can discuss whether the worker has to look after their own hi-viz and hard hat. This can also move on to a discussion about what the PPE does and why it is important to wear on site. 


OSHA memes are a great way of reinforcing safety messages and refreshing memories. The humor is an ice-breaker and a memory aid. It also encourages workers to actually listen to a safety briefing. What can be considered a dry topic by some comes to life with an injection of comedy and fun. Hopefully, these OSHA memes will help you engage your workforce.