The Road of No Return, 1961


This 17:40 minute long film from the Fort Halstead archive dates from 1961 and was filmed by the Armament Research and Development Establishment in association with the Ministry of Aviation Cine Film Service. It has recently been digitised by the Imperial War Museum and is available on their website. It has been reproduced here under the IWM Non Commercial Licence © DEG 178.

The film was produced for the ARDE workforce at Fort Halstead and covers workplace health and safety scenarios and processes. There is a wide range of scenarios covered, and offers a unique view into the operation of the Fort Halstead site in the early 1960s.

The film can be loaded and viewed full screen using this link.

Quotes with a serious meaning

In a wonderful style, the film addresses a number of serious health and safety issues. With a liberal share of fake blood, pyrotechnics (we’d expect no less for Fort Halstead) and some great stunt acting, the voiceover and script pull no punches with their pun-ful commentary. Here are some of the more memorable quotes:

“The germs in that piece of rag could turn his hand into an unrecognisable mess.”

“A shiny floor is nice, yet it can be dangerous if you use the very slippery kind of polish.”

“High places are dangerous places. Don’t fall for that trap.”

“If you do operate a machine without a safety guard, then you’ve only yourself to blame when the unforseen takes place.”

“Hot fat can spalsh without mercy.”

“One thoughtless moment and you could be plunged into a world of darkness.”

“Some of us are masters when it comes to balancing things. In fact you can balance anything, anywhere, when you know how.”

“It’s the Safety Officers job to identify the unsafe act or condition, and that is why he is always around looking for trouble. And he often finds it.”

“It is better to scrap a worn rope than to spend several months tied up in a hospital.”

“Wires can get into a shocking condition if they are not properly looked after.”

“A ring on the finger and faulty insulation can be as lethal as any electric chair.”

“You can’t stop an accident when it hits you, that’s much too late.”

“Don’t take the road to the hospital, it might be the road of no return.”

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