RoSPA’s Second World War safety posters

RoSPA realised that "an accident in the works is as much a gain to the enemy as a casualty in the forces"

During the Second World War, RoSPA produced a series of accident prevention posters aimed at workers in the factories and workshops supplying the British war effort, many of whom had not been employed in industry before. They were commissioned by RoSPA and underwritten by Ernest Bevin's Ministry of Labour, and produced under severe financial and time pressures.

A WWII poster designed by Tom Eckersley A WWII poster designed by Abram Games A WWII poster designed by Manfred Reiss A WWII poster designed by Arnold Rothholz

The posters were part of a package of propaganda material sent out through the "Industrial Service", which was delivered on a subscription basis and comprised pamphlets and educational notes along with three types of poster.

RoSPA recognised that this material would remain ineffective without a safety structure in place among the management and workforce of client firms. It therefore suggested that safety representatives should be chosen to initiate new workers and that, in addition to a tour of the factory, the initiation should include demonstrations and talks in a designated "classroom" where a permanent poster display could be maintained. It was also recommended that other designated display sites should be established in the workspace and social areas, with a regularly-changing series of messages to maintain interest.

You can read more about RoSPA's poster campaign during the Second World War in Safety First: vintage posters from RoSPA's archive, by Paul Rennie of Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design.

View RoSPA posters from the Second World War

Images of our Second World War posters are used with the kind permission of Paul and Karen Rennie, of Folkestone. Paul and Karen are keen to hear from anybody involved with RoSPA's safety campaigns from the 1940s and 50s. Visit their website at: www.rennart.co.uk.

Also with thanks to the Estate of Tom Eckersley, the Estate of Abram Games and the Estate of Arnold Rothholz.


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