The Songs That Reveal Health & Safety Concerns

The Songs That Reveal Health & Safety Concerns

04th November 2020

Songs are generally about making us feel good and giving us something to dance to. Yet, some of them also reveal deeper secrets, such as the following lyrics that speak to us of serious health and safety concerns.

The Safety Dance – Men Without Hats

You may remember this 1982 disco classic from Canada as being a fun little anti-establishment ditty, but what on earth was it all about? The songwriter, Ivan Doroschuk, told reporters that it was a form of protest at how disco bouncers were stopping people from pogoing and slam dancing to new wave music.

Yet, surely the bouncers were right to stop dancers when everything was “out of control” and people were dancing “from pole to pole”. Frankly, it would have been nice to hear the bouncers respond with their own single, pointing out the valid reasons for their pogoing prohibition.

Disco Inferno – The Trammps

The first sign that something is wrong here comes in the very first line, when we learn that the disco is “one hundred stories high”, which seems way too much dancing space for the bouncers to control. Next, we hear that people are “getting loose y'all, getting down on the roof”, although it isn’t clear if the roof is a designated dancing area with the appropriate safety barriers in place.

Things take a turn for the worse when we are told that “folks are screaming, out of control”. Thankfully, it is only the boogie that has started to explode in this case, but having a crowd of out of control fun-lovers at the sort of height where builders need a fall protection post seems particularly dangerous.

Rat in My Kitchen – UB40

Anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows that the presence of rodents is a no-no, especially if they scurry into the kitchen. This reggae song from 1986 got to number 12 and stayed in the charts for a few weeks. It was apparently inspired by singer Ali Campbell actually having rats in his kitchen.

The singer asks “what am I gonna do?” before responding with a vague “I'm gonna fix that rat that's what I'm gonna do”. Perhaps he should have referred to chapter 6 of the UK’s government’s food industry guidelines, where specific advice on exactly this issue is offered.

A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles

You may have heard this 1964 song hundreds of times without realising that it is warning us of the dangers of working long shifts while excessively tired. The singer has been “working like a dog” to be able to afford unspecified “things” for his baby and “should be sleeping like a log”.

Yet, the government guidance on this matter tells us that we shouldn’t be working more than 48 hours a week on average. If the exhausted employee is working more hours then it is no wonder that he is tired. Minimum statutory employee rights have been in force in the UK since 1962, although the Fab Four had the idea for this song in 1963 when Ringo came out with the phrase.