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No OSHA Compliance in live-action TV.


  • American Gods (2017): The Vulcan plant has faulty railings up above the molten metal containers which results in one person a year falling in and dying. It's apparently cheaper to settle with the family than simply fix it. Vulcan demands this as a sacrifice. He eventually has his body dumped in one himself.
  • The reality TV show Bar Rescue centers around hospitality industry expert Jon Taffer turning around failing bars. Some of these bars have sanitation and/or structural issues that make them just plain dangerous to be in for customers and staff alike.
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  • In the original Battlestar Galactica, after much trial and error the Cylon fighters realize they can do more damage to the capital ship by crashing into it than by shooting. They succeed in setting fire to the flight deck, causing much panic before someone remembers that they're in space and can just pump in some vacuum from outside. The problem? This will kill the civilians unless bulkheads can be closed to contain the fire. Where is the switch for the bulkheads? On the outside surface of the ship. Who is the technical crew assigned to performing a dangerous EVA to throw the switch? The two senior combat pilots. One comments on the urgency of their task, to which the other responds, "I know, that's why I disconnected our safety tethers, they'll only slow us down." Predictability ensues.
  • In the period drama Bomb Girls, it is mentioned that some of the girl's hair colors have changed due to working with chemicals in the munitions factory. The factory has a lot of safety measures to prevent the munitions from accidentally exploding, but long-term health effects due to exposure are just not on anyone's radar.
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  • Camp Kikiwaka in Bunk'd has so many health code and safety violations, it's a wonder the place is still open. Examples include a toxic river, bad indoor plumbing, spoiled and rotten food, animal infestations and hand-me-down equipment.
  • The set of the unsold game show pilot Cop Out! was light-bulb heavy, especially around where the host, the celebrities and the contestants were positioned. Since they were exposed to said bulbs for the duration of the taping, they had to be treated for first and second degree burns immediately after production had finished. The huge letters in the show's title positioned above the playing area also posed a hazard to anyone on stage who sat directly below them. As the Game Show Pilot Light puts it:
    "If the letter O falls out of OUT, its going to take out at least two celebrities."
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  • A CSI episode had the team investigating a crime at a restaurant and learn of the cooking staff's strange customs. The one about flicking blood around the kitchen whenever any of the staff cut themselves particularly appalls Catherine and Grissom as being ridiculously unsanitary, "Hasn't anyone heard of HIV?"
  • Dirty Jobs: Host Mike Rowe has commented that for the hundreds of different jobs he visited for the show, only a couple of people told him he could not operate a particular piece of machinery without being certified first. This lead to an episode he called "Safety Third", a play on the adage "Safety First", and in later shows and interviews he discusses the struggle these jobs have with being compliant with OSHA, EPA and other acronyms versus being able to get the job done in an efficient manner.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Rose" had an underground location that was two parts OSHA compliance handrails, and the rest definitely NOT OSHA compliant, with a nice platform opening up to the Auton controller's pit.
    • "The End of the World" features a space station that has a crucial switch on the other side of a rail-less walkway lined up with and directly underneath three giant rapidly spinning propellers. The only safety measure introduced is a lever that when held down simply slows down the propellers allowing passage. Apparently there will still be no safety regulations five billion years in the future.
    • "42": The Doctor attempts to recall an escape pod, for which the controls are inexplicably on the outside of the ship. Not only that, the handle is just out of arm's reach.
    • "Voyage of the Damned": The starship Titanic has long drops to its nuclear storm drive engine, and the only way across the character can find is via a rickety bridge half a metre wide. Admittedly, the ship has been severely damaged due to being struck by meteors. Not to mention that the villain intended for the ship to crash...
    • "The Rebel Flesh" opens with someone playfully shoving their co-worker, who is standing on the rim of a vat of acid. Guess what happens. Justified because these workers are actually mentally controlling flesh clones of themselves, constant use of which has made them somewhat apathetic when it comes to their own safety. They can always just grow a new one.
  • Lampshaded in Farscape, after the (admittedly scavenged) Zelbion defence shield explodes, Crichton shouts "Haven't you people ever heard of FUSES?!" And the walkways leading to Pilot's den don't have railings. Yes, this has resulted in at least two lethal falls.
  • The House episode "Emancipation" started with a factory manager collapsing right on top of a conveyor belt headed towards a metal stamping press and only avoided being squashed because someone pressed the stop button in the nick of time. You'd think they'd have guard rails around the thing.
  • Lampshaded in Hyperdrive when the Commander and York find themselves on a narrow, rail-less walkway suspended hundreds of feet above a Swirly Energy Thingy.
    Cmdr Henderson: Why would anything on this ship have to be so high?
  • The Ice Road Truckers spinoff IRT: Deadliest Roads demonstrates real life examples of this on the high-altitude roads of India and Bolivia. One-lane roads with no guardrails, 1000+ foot dropoffs, and tight spots where it's nearly impossible to get through without the dirt crumbling beneath at least one tire, are distressingly common. And that's to say nothing of the near-suicidal local drivers that our heroes encounter.
    • It is even worse when you learn how easy it is to get a drivers license in the country.
    • The original show averts this with a passion, showing all the various safety equipment and procedures the drivers must have, size limits on cargo (with extra wide ones labelled even though it is blindly obvious), and either the fines the drivers face when the safety procedures are ignored, or the crashed trucks. Driving a semi across the ice roads of Alaska and Canada is an inherently dangerous job, but they take every precaution to manage the risks.
  • The bridge of the biomech spaceship Lexx is a platform jutting out above a 100-story chasm. Many, many guest stars fall to their deaths here. No, there isn't so much as a guardrail. Justified because the Cluster, where it was built, has little to no concern for human life. You have to pay for tardiness with your own organs, for Christ's sake.
  • In Lost in Space (2018), the airlocks on the main colony ship are designed so that they auto-cycle once someone hits the start button rather than waiting for confirmation that the people who entered the airlock in the first stage are ready to leave it before starting the second. They also have no way to abort the cycle or let people out the way they came in from inside the airlock. Dr. Smith accidentally kills a man with this safety defect.
  • Lucifer (2016): Lucifer and Chloe are in the kitchen of a restaurant when a container of cooking oil is set on fire. Within seconds the entire restaurant is on fire. Lucifer lampshades the fact that the building was clearly not up to code.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Flame's End", there is a room into which radioactive waste is dumped after 10 minutes of activation, with a door that can be pushed shut from the outside and has a timed lock that cannot be opened for 60 minutes after it is shut. And there is no emergency shutoff, handle or opening mechanism inside the room.
  • In Made in Canada episode "Alan's New Studio", the studio in question is built in a converted battery factory. There is no air conditioning, passing trains frequently cause the whole building to shake (ruining sound recording), flakes of asbestos and a mysterious black substance constantly rain down from the ceiling, and one room holds dozens of barrels of chemical waste. Spending just a few hours in the building causes the main characters' hair to start falling out.
    Veronica: What do you mean you don't care!? This place practically buzzes! You'll come out of the studio more tan than when you went in!
    Victor: Actors look good with a little colour on their face!
    Veronica: Not cobalt blue!
  • The board where celebrities sat on The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour was the least safe out of any version of Squares considering the second and third rows would be wheeled in behind the Match Game panel.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 commented on this trope when the guys riffed on the South African sci-fi flick Space Mutiny, pointing out the numerous "railing kills" during the movie. One of the host segments takes the gag a step further, with Servo installing railings all over the Satellite of Love in order to meet OSHA safety standards. Although at least one of them is a "whisper-quiet, spinning, spiked railing," which doesn't sound very safe.
    • And so as not to make the newly-installed railings useless, Servo also installs some holes to put railings around. Mike inevitably trips over a railing and falls into the hole.
  • Averted briefly in Pawn Stars, where Rick refused to buy a "corn chucker" because it had an open hole that led right to the gears of the things, and the shop could be sued if a kid put a hand in it.
  • Powerless (2017): The main characters are part of the company that makes safety grating for the giant vats of acid that ACE chemicals keeps lying around. Emily has set her team to improving them in order to cut down on accidents. No one seems to consider eliminating the giant vats entirely; people falling in is just considered a part of doing business.
    Emily: Last year, flaws in our safety grates resulted in roughly one clown villain every three months.
  • Six Feet Under: The 1st season dough mixer accident seems far-fetched; there simply should have been more safety precautions on a piece of industrial equipment like that.
  • Stargate variously plays straight and averts this with the gates themselves. The gates have some built in safety measures, but the splash when they activate is very dangerous, and the danger zone is almost never marked off. Also, the gate will happily splat you against a barrier at the far end or dump you into vacuum with no warning. And most users go through without checking conditions on the far side first. The Air Force mostly averts the trope with several added safety features and probes to check out unknown gate addresses.
    • Also averted by the fact that, while the gate system has several checks in place to make sure that the other end is safe, Stargate Command lacked a critical piece of the original gate technology and had to reverse-engineer the protocol, missing several of the safety messages.
    • It's also been mentioned in at least one episode that the SGC (or at least, Carter) will sometimes override safety protocols built into the Stargate itself. It's a wonder Carter never stopped to ask herself why the safety protocol had to be overridden.
    • Stargate Universe has the space ship Destiny, which actually has many safety features, but the ship is so old and damaged that the crew has to override or bypass them all the time to get the ship working. Often enough, this gets someone hurt or killed.
      • The ship computer locks out stargate addresses it deems unsafe. Two scientists who override the lock are never seen again after they step through the gate.
      • Some of the safety features are designed to protect the ship even if it would put a crewmember in danger. The ship will not let you override the lock on a pressure door if it is passing through a sun at the moment.
      • That's more of a subversion. Opening a pressure door while passing through a sun...
    • A lot of Goa'uld tech plays the trope dead straight. Lampshaded once by Daniel after SG-1 gets knocked around the cabin while aboard a Goa'uld cargo shuttle:
      Daniel: You'd think a race smart enough to fly across the galaxy would be smart enough to have seatbelts.
    • Wraith Hive-ships in Stargate Atlantis have fairly thin walkways above giant chasms with nary a guard rail in sight. Partly justified in that the Wraith don't really care about warriors (who are apparently just easily-replaceable drones) falling to their deaths, but their commanders might also fall. Additionally, their "scoop" beams deposit people on any location without checking if it's safe first. Sheppard restored people stored in the buffer (several of whom are his) on one of the above-mentioned walkways with a few of the baddies materializing off the walkway. Naturally, gravity immediately takes over.
      • That could just be because Sheppard can't read Wraith tech, and wouldn't know if it was warning him not to use the scoop beam. In any case, it's his fault for doing it blind.
    • For the Travelers, this is just everyday life. A spacefaring people without the resources to build new ships, it's all they can do to keep the ships they do have at a functional level. Normally, that means improvising repairs with salvaged parts and pushing their equipment well past its safe operational limits. It's a good day if they can get something to work at all; making sure it works safely is optional.
    • The Pegasus Galaxy also features several Stargates that are in orbit above planets. There is no (shown) warning system to inform people that these gates are in outer space, meaning some people might not know until they step through.
    • Atlantis itself is a pretty big one. It's a Manhattan-sized city which the Ancients strapped engines to. That isn't an exaggeration. The city is built like your average city, definitely not waterproof or resistant to vacuum, which giant engines to let it fly through space. It relies solely on a massive shield to protect it during spaceflight, so of course this has proved to be a problem for the cast when Atlantis runs low on power after they've gotten it up there.
  • Star Trek is the king of unsafe work environments.
    • In fact, StarDestroyer.net contains an essay (written by an engineer) specifically about the subject. And a small fanfic about a starship designer being tried for non OSHA compliance. And yet the author doesn't seem to criticise engineering in Star Wars, which is just as bad, if not worse, about such things.
    • Computers explode whenever the ship is hit by weapons fire or an inverse tachyon something or other, even though these computers are just terminals that wouldn't require more power than is needed for basic processing power, a network interface, and display.
      • There is a real life technical explanation for this. An electrical engineer on a major Trek message board explains the real world reason for "Exploding Consoles of Doom" here. Of course, the engineer seems to be assuming that the consoles are full-blown mainframe computer systems complete with DC power feeds. In reality, they are little more than touchscreen panels for operating systems that reside elsewhere in the ship. Generally-speaking, one does not worry that a PC or an iPad sitting in a charger will explode and send a user hurtling across the room should a bolt of lightning strike their poorly-grounded house.
      • In addition, the TNG Technical Manual makes clear that many of the connections are optical. Optics do not conduct electricity.
    • In one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf is paralyzed when a barrel of some substance, which is stored high above the floor without proper bracing, falls on him. Not only is the design faulty, in allowing such a container to fall (if you must place such an object in such a dangerous place, at least have it held by straps that are strong enough to withstand anything short of the entire room being destroyed, or at least major damage, rather than the minor shake the room was subjected to), but the fact that there was no inquiry into safety measures and procedures after a major injury to a crew member only heightened the unreality of running a Star Fleet in such a manner. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, just that it wasn't seen in the episode, since that would have been boring. Considering that Worf is a Klingon, he would be able to take much more punishment than a human. That barrel would probably have killed a member of any other species, with the possible exception of a Vulcan, who are comparably tough.
    • In another episode, Geordi and Data are conducting an experiment on a phaser in engineering. Try and count the number of problems, here. First, they remove several vital monitoring consoles to make room. Then, they conduct the experiment right next to the warp core. Next, the experiment involves firing the weapon through a public area with absolutely no warning signs or caution markers. Finally, the setup requires that the weapon be aimed directly at Data, who stands behind a sensor in the path of the beam. It just goes on and on.
      • The Honor Harrington series, which has many Trek references, repeatedly shows what would really happen if "inertial compensators" failed even momentarily on a ship accelerating at hundreds of gravities: everyone in the ship gets turned into "strawberry jam". Minor structural damage.
    • Federation starships explode if someone sneezes in their general direction. It was stated in one first-season episode of Next Generation that the ship could be destroyed by one man in the engine room with a hand weapon (and it almost happened!). The exposed warp core is because of Rule of Cool in set design. Avoided on some ships (e.g. Defiant-class), which are actually MEANT for shooting stuff as their main purpose rather than one of the things they can do, where they have a force field surrounding their warp core.
      • A sane design would isolate the reactor to its own area, not place it in the control room! People are killed needlessly every time the thing springs a leak. There's a reason nuclear reactors aren't designed this way.
    • Think about this for a moment. The casing of the warp core is only a couple of metres in diameter, yet is sufficiently tough to be able to withstand a continuous matter-antimatter annihilation going on inside that is millions of times more energetic than the biggest nuclear reactor ever conceived, but it can be breached with a basic standard-issue firearm from the outside. (Though maybe said outside firearm is The Last Straw... which still begs the question of why the casing of a mega-nuclear reactor would be just barely tough enough to contain the reaction.)
      • The Enterprise-E also got a force field for their warp core. It failed the second the ship was fired upon!
      • When the term "warp core breach" was first introduced (in TNG: "Contagion"), it was explicitly justified as an event which was vanishingly rare and astonishing due to all the failsafes, and coming about only because a computer virus caused total systems failure (leaving one to wonder where their physical safeguards were). But once the show's writers learned that "core breach = danger," they began invoking core breaches more and more often, and the vanishing rarity of the event was forgotten.
      • Made particularly laughable by them introducing the idea that by the TNG era the warp core is ejectable in the event that it starts to explode, but the ejection systems somehow always fail. According to the behind-the-scenes technical manuals, this is particularly egregious given that the warp core ejection system is based on electromagnets holding the core in place, and requires power to not work. Think about that next time you see Geordi or Data say "ejection systems are offline"!
    • Geordi and Data often perform experiments involving hazardous materials in Engineering. Not only that, the only separation between them and the material is a container (which always breaks) and a force field (that just barely holds).
    • In Contagion, the entire Enterprise D was messed up by a computer virus that destroyed another ship before. One guesses Federation engineers don't know what are computers independent of the main one managing critical systems such as the warp core, manual overrides for cases as that, and if all else fails backup manual controls.
    • Deep Space Nine had many scenes set on the multilevel Promenade. The second floor safety railings went from two bars to one. Neither setting stopped people from falling over and dying (though Jake and Nog got scolded a lot for hanging over them). The elevator to the control center/bridge had no safety cage!
      • Also, nearly all entrances of the space station have a raised piece needlessly causing people to trip. This was lampshaded at least once by a woman from a low gravity planet who needs load lifting machines outside of her suit and a cane to walk around.
      • More or less justified by the fact that the Cardassians couldn't care less about personal safety standards.
    • Holodeck Malfunctions. Statistically, these Virtual Injury/Death Traps have to be at least as dangerous as the Borg, Klingons or Romulans. Despite 'Safety Protocols', these suffer from frequent Failsafe Failure, or better yet, are often disabled by the Senior Officers, leading to the either the main characters being A) trapped B) injured or killed C) nearly injured or killed D) the near-destruction of the Enterprise. However, despite clear evidence that even entering one of these things about as safe as playing Russian roulette with 5 bullets, IT IS NEVER TAKEN OFF-LINE. At the very least you would expect to see a Sign warning 'Enter at your own risk', or 'Safety Protocols Subject to Frequent Random Failures' etc. Evidently The Federation has no product liability laws. That, or they sign the waivers off-screen. Almost a trope unto itself, similar to the equally dangerous and unpredictable 'Teleporter Malfunction'.
      • It's rather remarkable that if holodecks existed today they would probably be classified as "thrill rides" due to the potentially exciting nature of the content available. Thrill rides require an operator to watch the ride and stop it in an emergency — even mundane kid's rides! Holodecks have no such thing — the computer doesn't even stop the simulation when it renders a bullet which could kill a user and then fires that bullet at a user!
      • There's also the matter of characters purposefully turning off the safety protocols in the holodeck. The first time we see this (TNG's Descent) the computer says that to disable the safety protocols requires the authorization of at least two senior officers and warns about the danger. By Voyager Seven of Nine was able to disable the safety protocol by herself with a vocal command, no authorization needed, no warning from the computer. In addition you would think the system would notify someone that the safety protocols have been disabled given how dangerous the holodeck can be, yet in another Voyager episode B'Elanna Torres was able to engage in various Death Seeker activities with the safeties off and the crew was none the wiser. They only found out by actively searching through the holodeck records after B'Elanna had seriously injured herself.
      • All of this raises the bigger question of why the holodeck even does these things. Apparently Federation engineers think it's better to design a system that will actually kill you and then put corks in it rather than just... not design it to actually kill you in the first place (i.e. there is no excuse for holographic bullets ever having any physically dangerous form, outside of modding).
      • In an unusual tip of the cap to capitalism, Quark's privately-owned holosuites on Deep Space Nine never endangered anyone's life, and in fact actually saved the lives of the crew in one episode by storing their mental patterns. This is quite sensible, really, since even the greediest Ferengi have to know that killing customers is bad for business. Its usual application appears to be variations on 'brothel' with much fewer potentially dangerous programs, but there were definite exceptions like the battle scenarios that O'Brien and Bashir favored.
      • It was also used by a visiting Klingon veteran who wanted to relive a key battle in Klingon history. Strangely, he doesn't appear to mind the safety features, even though a Klingon should laugh in the face of danger.
    • Voyager takes this Upto Eleven, then goes to idiotic extremes so it seems that the ship was designed to kill its crew before anything else. Manual door overrides don't work when there isn't power. The only system in the ENTIRE ship that has its own power supply (that is incompatible with the rest of the ship, somehow) isn't the important things like the shields, weapons, or replicators, but the Holodecks (which always were trying to kill the crew as well), in a laughable plot contrivance to allow holodeck episodes to still happen even though power conservation is essential for a ship decades away from proper resupply facilities. Never even remotely explained is how the holodeck's power source can possibly be incompatible with the replicators, given that all holodecks have built-in replicators. Most of the ship wiring is "gel packs," living tissues that they only have a very limited supply of (and can't replicate nor actually grow, missing the one benefit that a biological system would have over a metallic one) that once was poisoned by Neelix's cooking. The one time the ship wasn't on the edge of exploding was when an enemy shot out the "secondary command modules," preventing Janeway from having the ship self destruct when it was boarded (and the computer only informed her of this fact AFTER she tried to initiate a self destruct).
    • In the same episode as Neelix poisoning the gel packs, the resultant malfunctions were so bad that the manual override on doors weren't working. This is something that shouldn't happen given that manual overrides are usually unconnected with the system they're overriding.
      • Night: Voyager lacks battery-backed emergency lighting.
    • In an early episode of Star Trek: Enterprise ("Unexpected"), Tucker notes the elevator handrail is a few inches away from a support beam, meaning if someone would to put their hand on it, then it would take their fingers clean off. The Red Shirt he's telling this to replies "Why would someone put their hands on it?" Yes, that's right, you're not supposed to use the handrail. Made worse by the fact it was meant to just be Tucker being all hormonal because he's pregnant (long story).
    • In the episode "Acquisition", there are two examples: the (unnamed on screen) Ferengi have slipped a canister of knock out gas aboard the Enterprise, which successfully knocks out the crew within minutes without any sort of containment system kicking in, even ones you'd expect on a space ship for a pressure loss emergency. Meanwhile, Tucker is unaffected inside the decontamination chamber, but after the gas dispels, he is perfectly able to hotwire the chamber door mechanism from the inside. Not a great idea to have the wiring to the door mechanism available to the potentially infectious occupants.
      • Well, Trip is the ship's Chief Engineer. It's likely no one else knows how to do it. Still doesn't justify it, though.
      • When examined closely, the door of the decontamination chamber is sealed by having two pieces of bare metal press together. You could seal away contaminated material more reliably by sticking it in your refrigerator.
    • A low-key example: Jeffries Tubes. Small, enclosed places with limited access and lined with power conduits and other forms of dangerous technology. More often than not, the crewman working in the conduit will be alone without a spotter or any form of safety equipment beyond their communicator. Enclosed space violations like this are one of OSHA's lesser known pet peeves.
  • Lampshaded and defied in That Mitchell and Webb Look, where a generic Evil Overlord wants to install a Trap Door underneath a chair, as per the cliché. However, the contractor he hires to do the job insists on following all the requisite safety protocols. When the boss decides one of his minions has failed him, he flips the switch... nothing happens, because he has to press two switches at once. Once he does so, two minions arrive and place railings on the floor to block off the area, a red siren descends from the ceiling and a voiceover announces that Trapdoor 4 is about to open, and gives a countdown. Eventually, the intended victim figures it out and leaves. Earlier on in the sketch, the bad guy tries to have a Bookcase Passage and a revolving fireplace put in, both of which are either impossible to build or require lots of visible warning signs which would be less theatrical than what the villain wants.
  • It is explicitly stated that the eponymous warehouse in Warehouse 13 does not have OSHA compliance. With M. C. Escher as one of the designers, this is a given.
    • That being said, a reasonable amount of precaution is taken. Artifacts are stored in a way that makes them unlikely to activate, away from ones they would negatively react with, and the super dangerous ones are kept even more secure. The agents know they should never touch them, and the warehouse is built in a mountain away from the populace so locals won't wander into it. The general populace also think it's an IRS warehouse, so they really keep their distance.
  • The X-Files:
    • In "Beyond the Sea", the climactic chase scene takes place in an abandoned brewery that is falling apart. One of the villains steps through a wooden plank bridge and falls several stories to his death.
    • In "Roland", there is no emergency shutdown in either the test chamber or the control room except for the enter key on the control computer.


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