The Art of Preventative Health and Safety (in Europe)

A new (2015) publication that serves as a kind of labor history and catalogue of preventative health and safety posters in Europe is available from the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).  The General Director of the ETUI, Philppe Pochet, explains in the publication’s preface that the catalogue of posters were chosen for their aesthetic appeal, variety of graphic techniques and different approaches to messages on preventative health and safety.  Pochet points out that some posters contain messages that place the burden and responsibility for workplace safety on the workers themselves.  Others focus on the dangers and harms that “lurk” in the workplace.  One memorable poster challenges the entire system with the message, “Our Health Is Not for Sale” (pictured below).

This book is not just beautiful for its portrayal of the posters as art.  The book also presents a thoughtful cultural history of health and safety prevention posters and their introduction into workplaces in Europe. 

It would be fascinating to compare these European posters to examples from other regions of the world.  If you know of such a collection, please let us know at

You can download the book here.  Please note that it is an extremely large file and may take some time to download: