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Dangerous Workplace

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"To ensure that sufficient power remains for core testing protocols, all safety devices have been disabled. The Enrichment Center respects your right to have questions or concerns about this policy."
PA System, Portal 2

Some locations in TV land are far, far more dangerous than their real-life counterparts. The chances of a violent death are high, for major and minor characters alike. Often Lampshaded by an X Days Since sign when played for comedy.

See also No OSHA Compliance.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Duel Academia in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. It's on an island miles away from the rest of civilization, and is sitting on top of the ruins which hold the spirits of three evil monster cards. That's not all: there's an abandoned dorm in which all of the students in it have mysteriously disappeared, and the school has made minimal attempts to cover it up. The whole island is a magnet for evil spirits to manifest themselves in card games in which peoples souls are on the line.

    Comic Books 
  • Everywhere in Comic Books, but the ones that really stand out are airplanes and construction sites. If there is something hanging suspended from a crane, it is going to try and fall on someone.
    • The ones that really stand out are the headquarters of supervillains and superheroes alike, since they tend to be favored targets. It occasionally gets bad enough that the villains/heroes just say "screw this" and move somewhere else.
    • Also, any given supervillain holding facility is one of these, seeing as how they are one and all Cardboard Prisons. In particular one ought not to work at Arkham Asylum without having your insurance paid up and your affairs in order.
      • And with Arkham, have a really good therapist on hand... considering the prison's track record for driving its employees insane.
  • X-Men: The Xavier Institute of Higher Learning was billed as a safe haven for mutants where they could learn how to develop and control their powers and bond with fellow mutants. Hazards include repeated invasion attempts by kill squads from alien empires, supervillain attacks, training simulators becoming sentient and murderous, anti-mutant hate group attacks, and occasionally the other students. The sad thing is that the Xavier Institute was still the safest place for mutants in the world. I say "was" because after one too many attacks the X-Men finally gave up and moved operations to San Francisco. When that didn't pan out either they created a new mutant "Utopia".

  • In Tom Holt's J.W. Wells & Co. series, the firm of J. W. Wells and Co. might seem like a great advancement opportunity - but that assumes you live long enough to advance. And don't wind up transformed into a piece of office equipment.
  • In The Man with the Terrible Eyes, there's Iotech. Aside from all the torture and unethical experiments going on, there are also shadow monsters being stored in the basement.
  • Willy Wonka's factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory practically runs on No OSHA Compliance, and the crazy inventions being tested on the Oompa-Loompas have resulted in such mishaps as one growing so much hair that "we had to use a lawn mower to keep it in check", 20 of them being turned into blueberries, one floating off into space, and (in the sequel) 131 being de-aged out of this plane of existence, though it's implied or stated that most of them were rescued. Note that Mr. Wonka, when similar disasters happen to his visitors, talks about the solutions as if they were standard safety procedures.
  • Hogwarts in Harry Potter. A castle which sits right next to a monster infested forest, with a notable fatality rate for students and staff alike. It gets even worse when the school is invaded by Death Eaters.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Camp Half-Blood is a safe place for demigods from monsters because of a magical barrier. However even inside the camp, games of Capture the Flag involve using real weapons, the children of Ares have land mines surrounding their cabin, and the camp director is Dionysus who is perfectly willing to turn his campers into dolphins or plants for making him mad. It also doesn't help that the Big Bad has found ways to get past the borders and allow monsters to enter the camp.
    • In the sequel series The Heroes of Olympus, the Roman version of Camp Half-Blood isn't much safer. They don't have any magical borders to keep monsters out except around the center of the city, leaving defending the city to the demigods themselves. This actually leads to the camp being attacked multiple times during the series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: The existence of this trope motivated a Retool for the show's seventh season, which moved across the country to Washington and hauled the main character before a subcommittee to explain why his former workplace was so poorly defended. Over the course of seven seasons, CTU Los Angeles is the site of numerous incursions, including a terrorist bombing (S2), an EMP attack (S3), a nerve gas attack (S5), an assault by Chinese mercenaries (S6), three shootings of unarmed characters, two rampages by the same character in different seasons, a schizophrenic woman committing suicide, a murder disguised as suicide, multiple acts of non-lethal violence (torture, physical combat) between characters and multiple undercover informants working for the enemy. There's a reason why CTU Los Angeles was shut down - the producers of the show couldn't find any credible threat to throw against the division anymore. In total, more than 100 CTU employees died during the first six seasons of the series.
    • The licensed video game based on 24 includes a level set in the CTU. Naturally, it's been taken hostage again, only this time it's by Peter Madsen (Christian Kane of Leverage), setting off an EMP to render the office pitch-dark and inescapable.
  • Speaking of Christian Kane: He played a stressed-out attorney for two seasons on Angel. Why so stressed? Well, he works for Wolfram & Hart (a parody of real-life firm Jacoby & Meyers) which has a very high mortality rate for a legal firm. The banality of office work is taken to a macabre level on this show: clerks going apeshit and bludgeoning co-workers with fire extinguishers for failing to replace the copier toner; and of course the annual Christmas layoff (where employees aren't sacked but rather cut up and thrown into sacks).
    • One explanation for its ridiculous death rate can be attributed to the fact that apparently when under threat the entire building locks down and a spell is enacted to make anyone who dies come back as a bloodthirsty, indiscriminate zombie...why did they think that was a good idea?
    • Angel lampshades the "high-risk employment" of working at the firm in "Hellbound", noting for the first time that the building ought to be full of spooks — but isn't. This leads the good guys to realize that a particularly powerful ghost is feeding off the weaker ones.
  • Sun Hill police station in The Bill: At least 10 Police Officers have died inside this station, in its front car park or as a result of injuries sustained in either. Not to mention the prisoners who die in their cells.
  • Whitbury-Newton Leisure Centre in The Brittas Empire: a few dozen deaths onscreen, and the unnerving boast that "Last year, 600 people visited this Centre and nearly 500 returned home without any loss of life or serious injury" — all this in a Sitcom.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Sunnydale High, though admittedly this is no longer a problem as of the finale. Because it was swallowed up by Hell along with the rest of the town.
    • The Magic Box's storekeeper keeps getting killed over the seasons. In "Real Me", Giles decides to buy the shop and run it with the Scooby Gang there to hangout and protect him.
      • On an eerie note, none of the magic store's owners have lived. This includes Anya (killed by a Bringer) and Giles (killed in Season Eight).
  • Grey's Anatomy: Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital has seen a bombing, a shooting rampage, a plane crash, electrocutions...the fact that the place is named in memory of two man characters says a lot.
    • The doctors dub the place "Seattle Grace Mercy Death" at one point.
    • Oh, and everyone has suffered post-traumatic stress- There Are No Therapists being thankfully averted.
  • Smallville High had so many students mutate and die it's amazing anyone was left for their graduation (naturally graduation day had its own fatality).
  • Global Dynamics in Eureka - and by extension, the entire eponymous town. According to one character, Eureka, which is a high-income, zero-unemployment, low-density suburban town, has a mortality rate twice the national average. Characters frequently take the senseless, totally random deaths of innocents, sometimes in terrible ways, in stride, apparently out of sheer desensitization.
  • Midsomer Murders - A detective show about a quiet area of rural England where the murder rate appears to be about 1 in 4 people. Lampshade Hanging about this is, of course, rife.
  • Cabot Cove in Murder, She Wrote: a quaint, little Maine town... in which at least 50 people were murdered in every which way (poisoned marmalade, anyone?)
  • The bridge of almost any starship in any of the various Star Treks: because of the unfortunate prevalence of Explosive Instrumentation, there's a good chance a member of the bridge crew will be injured or killed in any given battle.
    Kirk: The chain of command is often a noose.
    • But only if you decided to wear your red uniform that day. And not if you're in the credits.
    • Terok Nor (the Cardassian station now known as Deep Space 9) was certainly dangerous for the Bajoran slaves working in the ore refinery. O'Brien tells Jake tales about how hellishly hot it could get.
      Jake: How could the Bajorans survive that?
      O'Brien: A lot of them didn't.
    • Malon ships from Star Trek: Voyager are heavily-irradiated hellholes known for occasionally producing brain-damaged mutants. They are so dangerous that if a big one explodes, it could poison half a sector.
    • Much of the action of Star Trek: Picard takes place on an abandoned and damaged Borg cube, which is now the site of a reclamation project under joint Romulan-Federation control. The obvious dangers associated with the Borg are spelled out in a speech for new workers, and there's even an "X Days Since" sign indicating how long it's been since anyone was accidentally assimilated.
  • Casualty 1906 makes London seem very dangerous, but this is due to the compression of a year of major medical incidents into a mini-series.
  • British Soap Opera Dream Team had a staggering death toll for a show set at football club. The eight season was a particularly amazing year seeing 7 characters killed off in a crash when the season villain rammed his car into the coach carrying the team (he had earlier murdered another main character and the same season saw an unrelated suicide).
  • Warehouse 13: If you aren't careful, you can be bludgeoned to death by multiplying dodgeballs. If you are careful, it'll probably be one of the countless defective MacGuffins stacked haphazardly in storage falling off a shelf by itself that spontaneously ruins everyone's day. At one point the main characters have a conversation about how every single previous Warehouse Agent either died, suffered a massive crippling injury, or went completely mental in the line of duty and what it was like doing their job knowing that track record.
  • Crinimalists aren't usually in as much danger as cops, but the Las Vegas Crime Lab on CSI is an exception. Either at the lab or in the field, characters have been shot, bitten, beat up, caught in an explosion...the spinoffs don't apply, though, as they are detectives rather than civilians.
  • Early on, the docks of the Babylon 5 station were this, as many necessary pieces of equipment had been built with sub-standard parts and there was no money available to fix it. In the end the dock workers go on strike after an accident claims one of their own, a government negotiator invokes the Rush Act to have it broken by the station military, and Sinclair - after reading the text of the Rush Act and seeing he's authorized to use any means necessary - reallocates money from the defence budget and gives the dock workers everything they demand for on the condition they get back to work, which they do.
  • London's Burning: A Justified Trope to some extent purely due to the nature of the job, but Blue Watch has seen a remarkable number of firefighters killed or forced out through injury and written off an improbable number of fire engines. And Blackwall seems to have an astonishingly high concentration of business owners with a cavalier attitude towards safety regulations, the consequences of which account for the majority of Blue Watch's call-outs. When a new character shows up in Season 9 with a reputation as a Doom Magnet it ends up being a bit of an Informed Flaw, because who'd notice the difference?

    Video Games 
  • Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee has meatpacking and preparation plant Rupturefarms, which is full of mines, huge ceiling to floor un guarded/fenced meatsaws often within metres of working employees (see: Slaves), huge Bottomless Pits, and guards ordered to shoot on sight. Oh, and grenade dispensers. Somewhat justified because the owners intend to turn the employees into another kind of meat, so they obviously aren't concerned about their safety.
  • The Bone Pit mine in Dragon Age II. Something horrible shows up to harass/kill/eat the workers in each act. In the first act it's dragons. In the second act it's a crime syndicate, giant spiders and the undead. It reaches a head in the third act when all of the workers are slaughtered by a High Dragon.
  • Aperture Science from Portal. Even before the whole "murderous AI kills entire staff and their daughters" thing, safety clearly wasn't high on the priorities list. In fact, the only reason they invented the long-fall boots, the one protective measure in the game, was because test subjects kept breaking expensive equipment after falling to their deaths.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. In the day, it's nominally safe; by midnight, however, the animatronics start moving around, and when they find the night watch, they'll forcefully stuff him in a Freddy suit which is full of metal beams and wires, and the man inside ends up as mincemeat. The only thing protecting him are two mechanical doors which drain the limited power he has, and when it runs out, they both open up for Freddy to finish him off in the dark. It seems miraculous that the place has remained open since 1987. That declining business after several tragedies prompts its closure by year's end, not so much.
    • The "New and Improved" location in the second game is just as bad - not only are the new animatronics just as dangerous as their predecessors, but said animatronics are still kept around and are able to move. Also, there are no doors the night watchman can close — they have to rely on a Freddy head to fool the animatronics (or at least, most of them).
    • The third game reveals that at one point, Freddy Fazbear's Pizza used special animatronics that could be converted into costumes for employees. The locks keeping the animatronic parts locked around the sides, however, were prone to breaking should the wearer breathe the wrong way, leading to a painful death. At least Fazbear Entertainment had the sense to retire them after at least one casualty (though they admit they don't care if an employee uses one).
    • Also from the third game is the pizzeria's successor, Fazbear's Fright. It isn't much better in this regard; the management deliberately built their workplace by using crappy ventilation ducts that regularly cause people to hallucinate from oxygen starvation. They also use cheap wires that have a high risk of becoming aflame and burning down the whole building. Which, surprise surprise, it does in the "Nightmare" mode ending.
    • Fredbear's Family Diner from the fourth game isn't seen much, but it hardly seems different from Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. Aside from seemingly using the aforementioned hybrid costumes, the Fredbear animatronic is strong enough to bite through a human child's skull.
  • The USG Ishimura of Dead Space is a huge hazard to life and limb even before the space zombies start tearing up the place. It has a large area devoted to regrowing missing body parts, has lift door than can cut a person in half and huge health and safety problems.

    Web Comics 
  • Being Bronze Skin Inc a company that specializes in tanning giant women, one can imagine that it is not the safest work environment of all.
  • The House of Cheese restaurant chain from Sluggy Freelance was specifically designed to set off a Manchurian Agent's killing trigger, causing her to massacre everyone inside.
  • Castle Heterodyne in Girl Genius is a prison/labor camp for political prisoners, especially Sparks. Being sent there is tantamount to a death sentence with a chance for appeal, a chance based on how it appeals to the Castle to kill them.
  • The Snail Factory features an extremely hazardous work environment as it primary setting and injury and death are so common that the management no longer tries to prevent these things but just tries to control its negative affects on employee morale.
  • In Kevin & Kell, predators at Herd Thinners often fight for supremacy. It's rare for a CEO to retire the peaceful way.

    Western Animation 
  • Springfield Nuclear Power Plant from The Simpsons is periodically flooded with radioactive waste, occasionally has storage barrels smashing through support columns and causing floors to give way, is infested with rats, has cooling towers that are very badly crumbling, has no lead in its radiation shields, and doesn't even have urinal cakes in its toilets. And that's not even counting the workers, who scream and panic whenever there's a problem with the reactor, who engage in everything from chess games to cockfights to "Nap Time", remove emergency procedure posters to make get-well-soon cards, and engage in log-rolling contests using waste drums. Homer Simpson is hardly the only lazy and incompetent employee at the plant — if anything, he's a typical example.
    "Wait... isn't he the Safety Inspector?"
    "It's best not to think about it."
  • Planet Express from Futurama, where the only thing that keeps the main characters from dying like all the other crews is Plot Armor.

    Real Life 
  • Pick a factory, any factory, before labor unions threatening (and going through with) everything from sit-ins to full-blown armed rebellion forced the management to improve safety standards. The role of the unions in setting safety standards has largely been taken over by federal-level government agencies like the OSHA these days, and opinion is divided on whether or not they do a better job of it.
  • Steel mills. There are around 1000 ways to get killed in one, and none of them are pretty. Lampshaded in the movie Super 8. The steel mill shown only at the beginning has a prominent banner of the ilk of 'X days since the last workplace accident' ... before a worker resets the already not-stellar number for the time to 1. This sets the tone of the movie to come as one where Anyone Can Die.
  • Ports and any other place featuring the near-constant movement of vehicles and other objects weighing several tons, often high over your head.
  • Professional kitchens are so potentially hazardous that the employees are constantly calling out their positions to avoid injuries.


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