Safe? Yes. Effective? No.
Pagination and Pagerank
You are hoping to get more Pagerank passed to the pages that are not on page one. It won't work. Pagination can serve the same SEO purpose as a sitemap: it will get Googlebot to crawl and index all your content. But, just like a sitemap, it won't help the pages rank much. Consider the case in which you have a great page 1 with Pagerank 5. Each page links to 10 of your other pages and the next page.
- Page 1: Pagerank 5 -- Items listed on it get Pagerank 3
- Page 2: Pagerank 3 -- Items listed on it get Pagerank 1
- Page 3: Pagerank 1 -- Items listed on it get Pagerank 0
- Page 4: Pagerank 0 -- Items listed on it get Pagerank 0
Items that are one page 1 or 2 may enjoy good rankings they recieve from your internal Pagerank. On page 3 and beyond, there isn't much ranking boost.
Pagination and usability
Users also don't like pagination much. Only one or two percent of users typically use it. Users generally like other solutions for exploring deep into content:
Pagination and low quality pages
One problem with pagination from an SEO perspective is that it creates lots of low quality pages. Anything other than page 1 isn't going to be a good landing page from users from the search results.
Who wants to land on a the 5th page of the unanswered questions on this site? Nobody.
Having many such pages that are not going to satisfy users can lead Google to think that your site is lower quality than it is. Google will notice that users back off these pages and look for other content. That first hurts the rankings of those pages. If it happens often, it can hurt the rankings of your entire site.
I often recommend that webmasters apply a noindex to all pages except page 1 even if the pagination can be crawled to pass pagerank.
There are ways of linking to your content that are more effective than pagination:
Interlink your pages
The best solution is to interlink all your content pages. This site uses the related links in the right column to do so. Each post has a list of other related posts. You could potentially browse the entire site by clicking from one related post to another. Pages will get Pagerank whether or not they are on the first page of the pagination.
Filters and categories
Filters and categories which users like can also be more effective at passing Pagrank that Pagination. If your page 1 links to 30 different filters and categories, a great deal of content can be accessed from those pages which are near enough to the top to still pass some Pagerank.
More items per page on every page
You could also consider increasing the number of items per page across the board. Having 100 items per page will allow you to pass pagerank to a few hundred items with Pagination compared to the 30 items that get Pagerank with 10 per page.
More than just a "next" page link
Linking to each page in the pagination can also help distribute Pagerank better. Instead of having a "next" button, you could consider having a
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... last menu. That passes pagerank deeper into your pagination. It has its limits because it gets unweildy with more than 10 or so items in that menu.