|"Don't Distract Your Mates"|
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Ministry of Labour, 1942
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Made in 1942, during the Second World War, this poster was designed by Bruce Angrave as a bit of instructional propaganda. To be sure, it’s quite grim, but it serves its purpose quite well, acting as a reminder of the serious injury or death that could result from being distracted and not paying attention in the workplace. During this period, with much of Britain’s usual workforce fighting in the war, a good many people with little previous work experience had to take jobs for which they were not trained nor for which they had developed the necessary discipline. Since many of these jobs directly benefited the war effort, posters such as this were created to remind people to be vigilant while working in order to avoid accidents.
Angrave's image depicts a black tree laden with unusual fruit—the fruits of distraction: prosthetic limbs, crutches and a coffin.
The inscription reads:
These are the fruits of horseplay
DON'T DISTRACT YOUR MATES
The poster was printed by Loxley Bros. Ltd. for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a division of the Ministry of Labour and National Service.