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Julie Copeland

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While Toolbox Talks cannot serve as a substitute for an employee's formal safety training, they do serve as a great way to address safety issues and concerns that may be plaguing your workplace right now.

The topics listed below are not meant to be comprehensive tool box discussions, instead they are provided as a reminder of areas you should be covering.

10. RADON GAS: Radon is a hazardous gas formed naturally in the ground. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and forms radioactive particles called “progeny” when broken down. As a gas, Radon is slowly released from ground, water and/or building materials that contain small amounts of uranium. If breathed into the lungs, Radon, can potentially lead to lung cancer. To test for radon, you can purchase a
do-it-yourself test kit or hire a radon measurement professional.

9. EMERGENCY PREPARATION: Being prepared is more than just having a first aid kit. The best way to be prepared is to be aware, so ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you know first aid and/or CPR?
  • Do you know where the nearest AED is located?
  • Do you understand the type of potential emergencies that could take place?
  • Have you trained to deal with those emergencies at your workplace?

8. COMMON SAFETY MISTAKES: Let’s start with simple ways https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/to keep employees safe - proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be first and foremost.
For example, no employees should wear hard hats

backwards, use heavily scratched face shields, or use improper hearing protection. These are all simple fixes,
but the fact that they have to be addressed may be a symptom of a much larger problem—a lack of safety culture.

7. HAZARD COMMUNICATION: Hazard communication is meant to limit the amount of chemical-related illnesses and injuries that occur in a workplace. These types of communications display specific information that helps workers identify and evaluate the severity of the chemicals around them. To keep everyone safe, employers should have all containers labeled and have multiple copies of relevant Safety Data Sheet (SDS) strategically placed around the work area. Employers should also have first aid kits and emergency contact information readily available and easily accessible in case of an emergency. 

6. FIRE SAFETY: In order to prevent accidents, injuries, and potential death, all work spaces must be equipped with working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. You should make sure all fire extinguishers are appropriate for your workplace and have not past their expiration date. It is important all workers know:

  • Where the fire extinguishers are located
  • How to use fire extinguishers 
  • Emergency evacuation skills

5. HEAT STRESS: Heat stress occurs when the body can no longer cool itself down with sweat, which can be dangerous as heat stress can lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Heat Exhaustion symptoms include, but are not limited to headache, dizziness, lightheadness, fainting, weakness and/or moist skin, confusion, nausea or vomiting. Heat stroke symptoms may include dry, hot skin with no sweating, confusion or loss of consciousness, seizures and/or convulsions.

To prevent against heat stress, you should:

  • Know the signs of heat-related illness
  • Block out sun or other heat sources as much as possible
  • Use cooling units in high heat environments
  • Hydrate yourself every 15 minutes to help cool down
  • Wear clothes and PPE appropriate to the weather
  • Wear sunscreen

4. WORKPLACE STRESS: Stress in the workplace is an ever-growing problem. Stress at work can lead to mental breakdowns and workers cutting corners to meet deadlines, which can have disastrous effects. To reduce workplace stress workers should:

  • Wear sunscreen
  • Ask for help
  • Try relaxation techniques
  • Take control of the situation
  • Talk to someone
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take care of yourself

3.WORKING ALONE: Working alone and in remote areas is often unavoidable. Situations where workers should not work alone include working at height, around high voltage power, and where heavy machinery is in use. Some of the ways to reduce risks while working alone, include:


  • Communication: have an effective communication system on hand for use through radio and satellite devices
  • Buddy System: colleagues should have an escort within the area if an incident were to occur
  • Workplace Layout: assess the workplace and identify any potential hazards and develop measures to reduce risks
  • Movement Records: keep tack and record all workers movements outside of the workplace
  • Training: ensure all workers are prepared, have control measures in place and understand the work that is to be carried out
  • Emergency Plans: create a comprehensive emergency plan based on the work, location and size of the work space. This plan should include medical assistance and treatment protocols.

2. SYSTEM SCAFFOLD: System scaffolds are easy-to-use temporary work platforms. Of course, there are many systems with varied ranges, but the safety for each is all the same. Best practices for System
Scaffolds include:

  • Make sure you are properly trained before using a scaffold.
  • Be mindful of coworkers working on the scaffold with you as well as those above and below you at all times.
  • If personal fall arrest systems are required, be sure to thoroughly inspect the equipment for damage and wear.
  • Use 3-point climbing.

1. WORKER RIGHTS: Workers play an important role in keeping each other safe on the job. To insure injury prevention, each worker should be aware of their three basics rights:

  • The Right To Know: All workers have the right to ask what hazards exist at the workplace, and how to control them. 
  • The Right To Participate: All employees should participate in finding and controlling the workplace hazards.
  • The Right To Refuse: All employees have the right to refuse unsafe work that considered to be unusually dangerous.

About Us

Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe and subscribe to Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

TOPICS: Toolbox Talks, safety talk

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