Before getting into common toolbox topics that can be used for a toolbox talk program, let’s have a look at what a toolbox talk actually is. A toolbox talk is sort of an informal discussion that is carried out within a group. The main focus typically is to discuss a safety issue related to some work or project the group is about to start working on. These group discussions are organised to promote the safety culture among workers.
These discussions are conducted informally, but attendees are usually recorded for future records. The people present for the toolbox talks are encouraged to be a part of the discussion and participate to the fullest.
Now that we have become familiar with the concept of toolbox talks, let’s look at some of the toolbox topics that can be used for an effective safety discussion.
Accident prevention is an important topic to be talked about. Discussing all the reasons why accidents happen in the first place can allow people to think of ways they can prevent them.
Having a toolbox talk with the topic of accident prevention can be beneficial, as it can make people more aware of their surroundings and prevent unfortunate accidents.
Use of Alcohol
Working under the influence of alcohol is never a good idea and having a toolbox topic for this promotes awareness amongst workers that expose others and themselves to additional risk when working under the influence of alcohol.
This topic should be discussed with extreme professionalism and cover issues related to use of alcohol during work. It would also be beneficial to cover where can people get help from if they have an addiction.
Behavior Towards Safety
Talking about prevention is not enough if people are not serious about it. It is absolutely necessary to promote behavioral changes regarding safety. Heath and safety need to part of the culture, as it only takes one individual not-serious about a safe working environment to cause an accident.
Influence of Drugs
Similar to alcohol, drug usage can prove to be fatal in a work environment. Not only is it unethical, but it surely is extremely dangerous as well.
Drug usage also includes medically prescribed medicines which can cause drowsiness, negatively affect the reaction time and reduce alertness.
Electricity Toolbox Topic
The more emphasis on this topic, the better. A toolbox talk is necessary regarding electrical safety when working around electricity. At people can come in contact with electricity in most places and it can be lethal, a toolbox topic on this can be very beneficial. All the workers that are exposed to electrical work should attend this toolbox discussion.
Creating awareness about fire safety can be useful in case of an unfortunate event of fire. People should be informed about how they should react in an emergency involving fire on site.
During this discussion, people should be made aware of how they can prevent a fire and what precautions they should use while working with something that can cause the fire to start.
In case of a sudden fire, people should be aware of their role so that they can help themselves and others.
Using Fire Extinguishers
Toolbox talk about effectively using fire extinguishers is a good topic to cover, as it can save lives and prevent a fire from spreading. Everyone should be aware that they should only use fire extinguisher in case of fire, if they have been properly trained. If used in the wrong way, they can cause more harm than good.
Assessing risk is an important factor that needs our attention. Identifying hazards, assessing and controlling risk, should be widely talked about. It is a legal requirement that hazards are identified and risks are assessed for any work being carried out. It is also an employer’s duty to ensure workers are aware of any risks associated with the work they are carrying out.
Work stress is something we often choose to ignore and are not really talked about. What we need to understand is that it not only is the stress as such that is a hazard, it is the lack of concentration, reduced reaction time etc. that can trigger serious incidents as well. Talking about stress and depression is essential for a healthy work environment.
Work Equipment Safety
People working with heavy machinery, electrical appliances, power tools etc., should attend toolbox talks related to wok equipment safety. Informing people about the correct and safe way of using machinery and other equipment should be covered as a toolbox topic.
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