OSH Matters

Growing interest in Occupational Safety and Health

Optimal Safety presents, OSH coverage in the movie “Despicable Me 3”.




    Despicable ME 3 encapsulates former super-villain Gru as an agent for the Anti-Villain League with his wife Lucy and adopted children. It’s a case of Good vs Bad throughout the entire movie as they battled against Balthazar Bratt, a former 1980’s child star, who seeks revenge against the world. He is extremely vengeful, as he specifically wanted to destroy Hollywood as a revenge for cancelling his TV show. A revolution began to form amongst the minions, with Mel being the leader. The mischievous Minions hope that Gru will return to a life of crime after the new boss of the Anti-Villain League fires him. Instead, Gru decided to remain retired and travel to Freedonia to meet his long-lost twin brother for the first time. The re-united siblings soon find themselves in an uneasy alliance to defeat the elusive Balthazar Bratt.

      Although the movie was one that was family oriented, rated “E”, adventurous and comedic, it showcased many safety and health violations, as several hazards and risks were identified. Perhaps the producers thought that these issues could have been overlooked, as their intended audience (i.e. children) may not notice them. Hence, the objective of this blog post, is to highlight the various categories of hazards within the movie. The movie displayed physical, biological, chemical, ergonomic and psychological hazards.




     Throughout the movie physical hazards were seen. Physical hazards are factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. These are substances or activities that threaten one’s physical safety. Physical hazards such as falls, noise and electrical were observed in the movie to name a few. If the right protective gear had been used most of these hazards and risks could have been eliminated. As such, the use of PPE when required must be emphasized.

   According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of Trinidad and Tobago Chapter 88:08 part VI Section 23 (1) which states that all persons entering an area in an industrial establishment where they are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminants or any other bodily injury, shall be provided with suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard and adequate instructions in the use of such protective clothing or devices, and no person shall be permitted to be in any such area unless he is wearing such protective clothing or device.  Even though safety and health hazards in the movie may not have caused serious damage, according to Bird’s Accident Triangle, the more near misses that are encountered through unsafe acts, the greater the possibility of the fatal accident occurring. Had it not been an animated movie, such risks could have been fatal or lead to sever damages.

birds imageBirds Accident Triangle states that, for every 600 times persons may have experienced near misses there can be 30 damaged incident, 10 minor or 1 major injury (Kevin).

Falling Hazard

      Slips occur when a person’s feet loses traction with the ground surface, whereas, causing trips to occur which happens when a person unexpectedly catches their feet on an object or surface. Falls may result from a slip or trip but many occur during falls from low heights or into a hole, ditch or body of water. The types of fall hazard identified in the movie were trip, stump, step and slip.

stairsFigure 1: Minions visit to Dru’s place.

I.     Trip and Fall: In figure 1, while getting off the plane via stairs, on arrival at Dru’s place, one minion tripped and bumped into the other causing them both to tumble down the stairs. It was noticeable that one minion was clothed in diving gears which contributed to the fall. This fall could have caused serious injuries to the minions. Gru, being the guardian, should have ensured that they held onto the railings which would have prevented them from falling.

 BrattFigure 2: Balthazar Bratt climbing the ship to steal the diamond.

    At the beginning of the movie Balthazar Bratt climbs the ship without the use of a harness, helmet or any other safety gear. See figure 2. This may have resulted in Balthazar falling into the ocean if his adhesive flippers stopped working. Following this scene, another hazard discovered were Gru and Lucy reported to the Anti-Villain League (AVL) and whilst being hoisted to the blimp on a mechanized sofa no harnesses, helmets, seat belts or other PPE were worn by the couple.

    Protective gear is important and can help lessen the occurrence of hazards. The OSH Act position on protective measures is that the provision of adequate and suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard to employees who in the course of employment are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminant or any other bodily injury and the provision of adequate instructions in the use of such protective clothing or devices.


Noise                     Figure 3: Person driving in the street playing loud music.

    Noise is one of the most common occupational health hazards. Figure 3 above, shows an extract from the movie where a young man is listening to loud music, through large speakers while in his car. The speakers are in close proximity to him/ his ears. If this is done consistently and for lengthy periods, it can impair his hearing or eventually lead to hearing loss. Under the list of occupational diseases in the OSH Act, Hearing Impairment is caused by NOISE.

    The OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago Regulations #34 also states that every owner, occupier or employer shall take adequate steps to prevent hearing impairment caused by noise, and diseases caused by vibration, from occurring to persons in, or in the vicinity of, his industrial establishment.

    In Despicable Me 3, other noise hazards can be seen where Bratt, used the sound waves / shockwaves from his sonic keytar to blow away Gru, who attempted to prevent Bratt from stealing the diamond. This is classed as noise hazard as it could have impaired Gru’s hearing. See figures 4&5 below.   

Noise 1 Noise 2

Figure 4 & 5



ElectFigure 6: Dru punched the electrical panel to cease the robot from burning Gru with his laser.

    Electrical hazard can be dangerous when someone make contact with live parts causing shock and burn to oneself. Electrical hazards were vividly seen where Dru put his hand into the robot to stop it from harming Gru. See figure 6. Although it was a heroic move, this could have led to death from being electrocuted.

escapeFigure 7: Minions escape from jail.

     Another electrical hazard identified, was the scene where the minions escape from jail. See figure 7. While working on the plane to get out of jail one of the minions connected cables to their power source, the battery, while the other held onto the exposed wire on the other end. This resulted in an electric shock which could have been detrimental to that minion. A situation like this could have easily been avoided if the exposed wire was connected to where it was supposed to be, before connecting the cables to the power source and also, wearing the required personal protective equipment i.e. shockproof clothing, boots and gloves as mentioned in the Occupational Safety and Health Act section 23 part VI quoted earlier with regards to protective clothing and devices.

     According to the OSH Act (Electricity) Regulations 10 “Where one of the main conductors of a system is bare and uninsulated”, such as a bare return of a concentric system, no switch, fuse, or circuit-breaker shall be placed in that conductor, or in any conductor connected thereto, and the said conductor shall be earthed.

     Nevertheless, switches, fuses, or circuit-breakers may be used to break the connection with the generators or transformers supplying the power; provided that in no case of bare conductor the connection of the conductor with earth is thereby broken. Also, Regulations 13 (Electricity) supports this situation stating “Every flexible wire for portable apparatus, for alternating currents or for pressures above 150 volts direct current, shall be connected to the system either by efficient permanent joints or connections, or by a properly constructed connector”.

     For instance, where a person handling portable apparatus with switches, for alternating current or pressures above 150 volts, would be liable to get shock through a conducting floor or conducting work or otherwise.



Chem 1Chem 2

Figure 8 & 9 – Balthazar Bratt attempt to steal diamond from soldiers.

       In identify OSH issues in the movie Despicable Me 3, chemical hazards were recognized. Balthazar Bratt, in his attempt to steal the diamond encountered resistance from military officers. Bratt made good his escape by throwing the rubix cube, which exploded and released dangerous colourful fumes and chemicals that caused the officers to become unconscious. The officers were not equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with such scenario. This dangerous chemical could cause medical issues such as lung disease or other respiratory problems. The use of gas masks should have been utilized to prevent such from happening.

    Based on the OSH Act regulation on Chemical Substances S6(c), which states, that the provision of adequate and suitable protective clothing or devices of an approved standard to employees who are in the course of employment are likely to be exposed to the risk of head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury from air contaminant or any other bodily injury and the provision of adequate instructions are to use such protective clothing or devices.


erg      Figure 10 – Balthazar Bratt in his thinking chair making plans to take his revenge on Hollywood.

        Another important hazard identified is Ergonomic. This hazard addresses the environmental, organizational and human characteristics that have the potential to adversely affect health and safety in the workplace. The overall aim of ergonomics is to ensure that there is complete cohesion between a worker, their job role and their workstation.

     In reference to the movie, in the scene shown in figure 10, where Balthazar’s Bratt is planning his revenge against Hollywood. Bratt can be seen in all of excitement, hanging over his chair in an unorthodox position without any support for his back or neck. This position can cause spinal injury, neck spasm and possible damage to lower back. These can be remedied by proper posture when sitting and having more ergonomically designed chairs.



erg 2             Figure 11 – Dru and Gru passed through the air conditioning vents in order to get into Bratt’s house.

        A biological hazard found in the movie can be seen when Dru and Gru navigated through the air condition vent at Balthazar Bratt’ lair. Their motive was to recover the stolen diamond. However, while in the vent, they were exposed to moulds and bacteria from the moisture stains. These exposure can cause eye infection, psoriasis of the skin and also respiratory infections. To avoid such problems, an alternative route in the lair could have been chosen or they would have worn the proper mask to protect their faces, gloves to protect the hands and protective clothing could have also been used.

toilet         Figure 12- Minions use of toilet bowls and tank as part of their aircraft to escape from prison.

      No Workplace is exempted from Biological Hazards. They can appear and disappear due to a variety of factors, thus it is important for one to be prepared for them in the workplace. As we all may know, Biological Hazards are organisms or substances produced by an organism that may pose a threat to human health.  Anything that can cause harm to people, animals, or infectious plant materials can be considered a Biological Hazard. They exist in most workplaces that involve working around other people, unsanitary conditions, in labs, or in the environment.

    This move also portrayed some biological hazard. In figure 12, one of the minions can be seen in a toilet bowl which was used to build an aircraft to escape from prison, leaving the washroom. The minion wore no protective gear or clothing and was therefore exposed to e coli, molds and worms that may have been present in that toilet bowl that was actively being used in the prison. The minion should have carried the toilet bowl by lifting it from the outside instead of being inside the bowl to avoid being in contact with bacteria from feces and other excrement’s.



GattsFigure 13: Balthazar Bratt

     A psychological hazard can be deemed as a threat that affects the conceptual well-being or mental health of an individual by overpowering individual coping mechanisms and impacting the individual’s ability to work in an OSH free manner. Throughout the movie it can be seen that Balthazar Bratt suffers from psychological issues. It all began when his TV show was cancelled and Hollywood rejected him. He didn’t take this well and things got worse from there.  He started to believe that he was the actual character he played on TV and was determine to destroy Hollywood as revenge of them cancelling his TV show. He became delusional and lost all faith in the world. Bratt enjoyed causing havoc and bringing destruction in real life as he did in his TV show. Being in such denial that his show is no longer a hit caused him to become angry and bitter.



   Hazards can be found almost everywhere we go and the first step to accident prevention is recognition of the potential danger. Many of the things we do on a daily basis, and believe that are common and safe are actually dangerous and can cause serious harm even though we have been escaping tragedy for some time.

    In analyzing this movie “Despicable Me 3”, we actually pinpointed things that we would typically bypass in a movie and viewed it in a new light having been equipped with the right information in our Occupational Safety and Health Management class. Although the selected movie is an animated one we were still able to get the essence of how dangerous these acts can be in the real life whether it’s a physical hazard, chemical hazard, biological hazard or psychological hazard and the importance of Personal Protective Equipment  (PPE) in the attempt to prevent the occurrence of accidents. Even a fun, cartoon, animated movie can display the hazards and risk. The aim is to integrate occupational safety and health improvements while supporting innovation and fostering productivity in any environment.

      Our group, “Optimal Safety”, constructed this blog with the intent to reach out to those who take their safety for granted and urge them to take a stance and be more conscious of their actions as they not only impact on themselves, but others around them. Safety must not just be a policy in a workplace but a lifestyle for everyone wherever we go. We wish to thank everyone for taking the time to read our blog and we hope it was informative and the points were vividly discussed.


Some hazards that stood out from the movie can be captured here.

eyes                                       Photo 1

Photo 1 above, shows the Laser produced/ used by Bratt’s gigantic robot self-replica, to separate Hollywood from the other parts of the country, which could have caused severe damage or injury. “LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) produces an intense, highly directional beam of light.” This could have caused damage to tissue, eye and skin of the human body, especially as the people were not aware that this would have transpired.

jail                           Photo 2

Photo 2 shows a lifting hazard. While in prison the minions bullied the inmates into doing whatever they wanted and as such had these two in the picture lift the heavy weights while he pretended to be lifting them. The lifting of these heavy weight could cause harm through strain to these inmates.

soikes                            Photo 3

A Puncture Hazard can be observed in photo 3 above. If the adhesive or “sticky” function failed, both Gru and Dru would have fallen into the trap, designed by Bratt to kill or damage intruders through the spikes.



Comcare. “Physical hazards.” Comcare. Accessed October 02, 2017. https://www.comcare.gov.au/preventing/hazards/physical_hazards.

Despicable Me 3 Synopsis – Google Search. Accessed October 08, 2017. https://www.google.tt/search?q=despicable%2Bme%2B3%2Bsynopsis&rlz=1C1CHBF_enTT747TT747&oq=despicable%2Bme%2B3%2Bsyn&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0.9917j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8.

“Falls.” World Health Organization. Accessed October 05, 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs344/en/.

CSO, Kevin Nichol; CHRP CRSP. “Safety 101.” The Safety Triangle Explained. January 01, 1970. Accessed October 05, 2017. http://crsp-safety101.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-safety-triangle-explained.html.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of T&T (2004) as amended (2006):


“Watch Despicable Me 3 Full Movie Free | 123Movies.” 123Movies | Watch Movies Online | Free Movies | 123Movies.co. January 01, 4537. Accessed September 28, 2017. https://123movies.co/movie/despicable-me-3-free108/.



2 thoughts on “Optimal Safety presents, OSH coverage in the movie “Despicable Me 3”.

  1. Very funny movie. great OSH observations


  2. Research was done at an exceptional and professional level and i think because of this the aim of your overall research in bringing awareness to the many safety hazards we may encounter thoughout our everyday life and take for granted creates an opportunity for persons to be much more observant of our environments aimed at reducing and preventing risks. Job well done


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