Safety Worst

By Eben Lehman on May 8, 2009

Each year, the first full week of May marks North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. Created by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), along with a partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the week is intended to promote the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses, and to raise public awareness of occupational safety issues.

In honor of this year’s North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, which runs from May 3-9, Peeling Back the Bark would like to feature a few relevant items from the Rudolph Wendelin Collection.  Wendelin, the artist behind Smokey Bear, created a large number of workplace safety flyers for the U.S. Forest Service from the 1930s through the 1970s.  He also collected Forest Service safety flyers created by other artists.

Below you’ll find just a few selections from a folder of safety illustrations that can be found in the Wendelin collection.

USFS safety flyer

“Temptation” safety flyer by Rudy Wendelin.

The bottom reads, “Hold against light to check errors.” Click the image to see what’s highlighted and revealed when held up to the light.

1950 safety flyer drawn by another artist but collected by Wendelin. Possible early inspiration for a “Mortal Kombat” finishing move?

safety turtle hardhats

In addition to drawing Smokey Bear, Wendelin also liked including other animals in his artwork, like this turtle from a 1951 flyer.

axe foot

Axe meets foot. No explanation needed.