FRIDAY FUNNY: Napo to the Rescue!

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Every year in the European Union, there are 5,720 fatal work-related accidents and millions of people are injured or have their health seriously harmed in the workplace. Workers and employers need to be made aware of the risks that they face and how to manage them.

Napo is an original idea conceived by a small group of OSH communications professionals in response to the need for high quality information products to break down national boundaries and address the diverse cultures, languages, and practical needs of people at work. The films are not designed to provide comprehensive coverage of a topic, nor should they be seen as training or teaching films.

The films in the Napo series are produced in computer graphics. They feature characters in the world of work, faced with safety issues. The main character, Napo, and his partners express themselves in wordless language. Culturally, they are “neutral” and therefore anyone can identify with them, whatever their language, country of origin or culture.

The Napo series is not the universal key to solve all safety problems. Napo is not a safety expert. His point of view is not that of the safety professional.

The films are not designed to provide comprehensive coverage of a topic, nor should they be seen as training or teaching films. The role of Napo and his friends is to provide an appetizer to OSH through their engaging characters, amusing story lines, and light-hearted approach. The best way to use Napo is to “think Napo”. “Safety with a smile” is Napo’s contribution to safer, healthier and better workplaces.

Use Napo in its entirety or sequence-by-sequence – this will depend on the audience, their views and attitudes to safety at work, and the environment in which the film is shown. Too much Napo can dilute the importance of the series.

Their stories have an educational value. They provoke questions and stimulate debate on specific aspects of safety at work. Sometimes they provide practical solutions or lead to them.

It is this blend of education, cultural neutrality and light-heartedness that gives the “Napo” series its identity.

Because Napo is a cartoon character he can explore areas that would not be possible in drama or documentary films. He is indestructible and everlasting, unlike the workers we are trying to protect.

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Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager. In September 2012, she transitioned to a new role dedicated to developing online content for Business Facilities and Today's Facility Manager (now Facility Executive). Schwartz can be reached at

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