Conducting a toolbox talk is very important on-site. It is one of the proactive measures to prevent accidents in the workplace.
However, toolbox talks can be called a tailgate meeting or a safety brief. They are safety presentations done on-site before the start of any work in the morning or start of any work shift.
Normally, conducting a toolbox should be less than 10 minutes.
More so, The talk highlights the job to be done, the hazards associated with the job and the safety precautions to be followed to prevent harm and ensure that the workers work safely on the job.
That being said, there are things to be done for an effective toolbox talk to happen, and the health and safety officer or the designated person in charge of the meeting should ensure that these actions are followed to have an effective meeting.
Here is a list of things to do before conducting a toolbox talk.
1. Call for volunteers to teach at the meeting.
You’ve to ask for workers to volunteer to teach at the toolbox talk. It’s also good if you can make your choices among those workers that are willing to speak and teach without compulsion.
You can as well make your choice from the members of the safety committee. And from other workers that show more interest in health and safety matters.
Calling for volunteers will help to have more hands delivering the topic on every given day. This will, in turn, encourage more participation among the workers.
More so, the volunteers can bring in their individual experiences and knowledge on the floor.
2. Make a roster for the topics you want in the toolbox talk and assign the volunteers to it.
Health and safety officer needs to draw a roster of the topics to be used in the toolbox talk. The volunteers would be assigned to the topics with the date they are to speak.
You can choose to do a weekly or a monthly roster depending on what you want and make sure you inform the presenters before the day they will present.
You can also place the roster on the company notice board where everyone can see it.
Always ensure that the topics are in line with the jobs you’re doing.
See below for a few of the topics that can be discussed in a toolbox talk
- Compressed gas cylinder safety
- Computer ergonomic
- Fire safety
- Hot work
- Ladder safety
- Lockout- tag out
- Machine guarding
- Pneumatic tools
- Working at height.
- Lifting safety
- Heat stress.
- Defensive driving
- Basic electrical safety
- Safety signage.
- Hazard communication.
- Confined space safety
- Means of egress
- Confined space entry procedures.
- Snow removal
- Office safety.
- Portable fire extinguishers
- Emergency preparedness
- Basic scaffold safety
- Personal protective equipment.
- Working safely with table saws.
3. Create a forum for meeting with the volunteers.
Having a regular meeting with the speakers to encourage them and assist them to present a good toolbox talk.
You can arrange for a physical meeting for 10 minutes every week or more or you can create a social online forum for them using WhatsApp where they can discuss and post articles or documents that will help them during conducting a toolbox talk.
Encourage them to study and prepare very well before any presentation so that they’ll be more familiar with the presentation content paper and be more apt during their delivery.
4. Try to hold the toolbox talk in an environment that is free of noise.
You don’t expect the workers to hear and focus on what you’re saying when they are being distracted due to a noisy environment.
Ensure you figure this out before you embark on conducting a toolbox talk. Try and be in a location that is free of noise and other distractions.
5. Make provision for a prop or demonstration in your presentation.
When conducting a toolbox talk and your topic is the type that needs to be shown to workers and for them to see how you do it or for them to see the material physically, please ensure you make adequate arrangements for it.
Using a prop will help you to maintain the workers’ attention and ensure that the topic sticks very well in their memory.
During the meeting, below are the things you need to do.
1. Pay attention to how you start the talk.
During the toolbox talk, the way you start the meeting will determine whether the workers will pay attention or they will not pay attention to.
Make sure you start with the recap of what they learned from the topic you did the previous day by asking any of the workers to respond to that, also ask them to say what they remember from the topic, and after that, you can now introduce the new topic for the day.
While introducing the new topic, make sure you repeat the topic with them so that it will register in their mind during delivery.
2. Be brief as you can be and go straight to the point.
You’re not expected to be beating around the bush the moment you’ve introduced the topic. You’ve to time yourself and use simple language in your delivery.
Avoid speaking jargon when conducting a toolbox talk as some workers may not understand what you’re saying.
If you’re speaking in another language other than the one the workers are fluent in, you can involve an interpreter. Some company makes rooms for such an arrangement.
3. Do a recap when you want to close the talk.
This will help to refresh the mind of the workers on what you’ve been saying since you started.
Some workers that could not pay attention in the beginning, maybe fortunate to grasp the closing recap before they are been mobilized to work.
This recap will help to prepare their mind ready for work.
4. Give room for questions.
You could ask the workers to explain what they learned from the presentation and also allow them to ask their questions for things they don’t understand or places them need clarifications bordering on health and safety.
Avoid making snide remarks whenever a worker asks a question, as this may discourage other workers from doing so later.
5. Document the meeting.
You’ll ensure that you document the meeting by providing an attendance register for workers to write and fill in their names with their signatures appropriately.
There should be an available portion for you to write in the topic and the summary and also the name of the speaker well written for reference purposes.
6. Practice what you preach.
Nothing is as bad as seeing a trainer or an instructor violating what he teaches to the workers in the toolbox talk.
Most times, workers listen more to your actions; the things they see you do than the things you teach them. Always set a good example for others to follow.
If you’re still confused on where to get materials for your toolbox talks,
Here is a list of the websites to visit.
This is an occupational safety and health administration site mainly an online training on health and safety and the environment. It has other free resources that can support your toolbox talk. There is a login for the student to access the courses.
This is a site dedicated mainly to the EHS profession and all matters concerning the environment, health, and safety. It has a lot of materials that can help you prepare your toolbox talk topics professionally and effectively. There are pages for health and safety webinars, for free download of documents and for case studies depending on what you want.
This site is dedicated mainly to toolbox talks meeting topics and resources someone can download for use. It has a forum and members login to access the full benefits of the site. There are pages for safety news also.
This is a Havard training portal mainly for EHS professionals. There is a dashboard where you can do online training and monitor your progress. There are over 100 courses that are available for you to do and make preparations for your toolbox talk.
They have resources like blogs, toolbox talk topics, and assessment tools that someone can use in the preparation of his toolbox talk. They have cloud-based software they market to customers and it is used in making reports for incidences and to monitor the relevant parties’ responses in real-time.
This site has more than 230 safety talk ideas. And each of the topics is very perfect to be used to deliver the toolbox talk effectively. Built by Jeremy Stiehl, an associate safety professional. There are lots of resources that someone can use on the site for study, training, and professional development.
This site has a lot of free safety meeting topics you can use to prepare for your toolbox talks. More so, it has a lot of resources for every industry such as construction safety toolbox talk, general industry toolbox talk, safety checklist, fleet safety topics.
Created since 2000. It was built out of a passion to support the health and safety profession and with lots of free resources and quotes, someone can use for toolbox talk preparation.
This is a health, environmental, and safety encyclopedia blog. It has lots of free resources and toolbox talk topics. There are other interesting pages on health and safety news and for jobs.
A toolbox talk is a very important meeting on site. It does a whole lot of good to the management and the workers themselves.
And an effective toolbox talk can always happen if the health and safety officer can incorporate the above-listed measures.
If there are other things that you think should be included in the list, Why not send me a message? And I would be glad if you do.
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Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.