Bloody Lucky: The careless worker myth in Alberta, Canada

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


As the Canadian province of Alberta has adopted neoliberal prescriptions for government, it has increasingly attributed workplace injuries to worker carelessness. Blaming workers for their injuries appears to be part of a broader strategy (which includes under-reporting injury levels and masking ineffective state enforcement with public condemnation of injurious work) to contain the potential political consequences associated with unsafe workplaces. This reflects the state's sometimes conflicting goals of maintaining the production process and the political legitimacy of the government and the capitalist social formation. This case study considers the political dynamics of occupational health and safety in Alberta to understand the escalating use of the careless worker myth over time. Alberta's emphasis on employer self-regulation has resulted in a large number of annual workplace injuries. The 2008 "Bloody Lucky" safety awareness campaign intensified this attribution of blame via gory videos aimed at young workers. This case study examines the validity of this attribution to reveal that this campaign provides workers, particularly young workers, with inaccurate information about injury causation, which may impede their ability and motivation to mitigate workplace risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun. 2012


  • Canada
  • Careless worker
  • Health
  • Injury
  • Prevention
  • Safety


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