Toolbox Talks: Keys to Ensure Effectiveness

Keeping employees up to date on changing policies and new safety issues can often be a challenge. You hold monthly safety meetings, send out safety reminders and have a program in place, but how do you ensure your message is understood by the frontline. A great way to provide additional training and reinforce the importance of safety are Toolbox Talks.

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What is a Toolbox Talk?

A Toolbox Talk is an informal safety meeting, conducted at the job site prior to the commencement of a job or work shift. Toolbox talks focus on safety aspects related to the specific job at hand. These meetings are normally 10-15 minutes, and cover topics such as workplace hazards and safe work practices. Toolbox talks are a very effective way to refresh workers' knowledge, cover last minute safety checks and exchange information with experienced workers.

Toolbox Talk Overview:

  • Scheduled at the beginning of the work shift
  • Meeting done at the job site
  • Approximately 10-15 minutes
  • Scheduled at predetermined times (monthly etc.)
  • Discuss and review previous meeting
  • Discuss current task to be done
  • Discuss safety issues including environment, hazards, use of PPE, first aid, medical support and emergency procedures
  • Workers should participate and review with quizzes or tests

What Should be Covered?

When conducing a Toolbox Talk it is important to focus on topics that are specific to the work environment and are topical. These topics can include accident trends, job-specific training requirements and specifics about equipment or tools employees may be using. This is also a good opportunity to address any changes to equipment or processes.

Successful Toolbox Talks:

  • Promote safety awareness and get workers actively involved
  • Introduce workers to new safety rules, equipment and practices
  • Provide vital information on accident causes and types
  • Emphasize planning, preparation, supervision and documentation
  • Review new laws, industry standards, company policies and procedures
  • Encourage workers to discuss experiences and help review procedures

Who Should Lead and Attend?

Supervisors should lead Toolbox Talks, and every employee who reports to that person should attend. If crews are spread out across a job, you may have to schedule multiple meetings to ensure everyone gets the message. Attendance should be taken, to confirm compliance and determine who needs extra training.

Toolbox talks are a great way to ensure your workers understand the importance of safety and are following best practices.  These talks can be created in-house, from outside sources or made up of snippets from specific training programs.

Arbill's safety resource center is filled with information you can use for these talks, and we have a robust training program covering a wide variety of topics, to pull from. Contact an Arbill Safety expert today for more information on potential topics and guidance on how to develop an effective safety program.

Have a Safe Day!