What is a Toolbox Talk?

Now what is a toolbox talk? Basically, a toolbox talk is a simple yet effective approach for information sharing amongst the team members in advance of beginning the actual work. A toolbox talk is an informal meeting where you address safety topics associated with the particular work, like safe work practices and workplace risks. Toolbox talks are typically conducted on the work location. Effective toolbox talks comprise of an everyday safety discussion before a work shift and typically takes about 5-10 minutes. Now that we have answered the question what is a toolbox talk, lets continue with how to develop one.

Developing a Toolbox Talk

The first thing that comes to mind when developing a toolbox talk is to consider what should be covered in it. Now the answer to this query is anything associated with health and safety which will benefit your employees in identifying possible workplace hazards is a good topic. Even organisations that has employees who only work in an office can benefit from toolbox talks. Relevant topics for office toolbox talks include office safety, disease prevention, protective driving and workplace stress.

Toolbox Talk in Documented Format

It must be kept in mind that it is not necessary to have a written handout for a toolbox talk. It could be a Supervisor who lead the discussion based on his/her knowledge and feedback from the team members should be encouraged in this regard. However, often it is beneficial to have toolbox talks in documented form as it ensures everything is covered. Also, it is easier to update a document when there have been some changes to legislation’s.

Frequency of Toolbox Talks

As far as the frequency of toolbox talks is concerned, it depends on the organisation, its team members and its particular industry. However, the best approach for majority of the organisations is to conduct at least a weekly toolbox talk. More to the point, a monthly safety meeting may be suitable for those entities that have less potential of workplace hazards.

Toolbox Talk Attendance

One important factor when developing a toolbox talk is if there should be a record of attendance. The answer is ideally it should be recorded; however, it must not be implemented in a way that makes it a complex admin task. A sign-in sheet can be passed around or a person can be given the responsibility of writing down the names of every individual attending it. It could also be recorded directly on the toolbox talk. This way it is ensured that there is a proper record of the date, topic, location and attendance for each toolbox talk. Moreover, a hard copy must be filed at the office or as a scanned electronic copy for future reference.

Delivering a Toolbox Talk

An important consideration to keep in mind when delivering the toolbox talk is to properly prepare for the given topic. Preparation is key to a positive results and topic should be kept short and to the point.

Developing the Toolbox Talk

The first important consideration to stay focused on the set topic. The aim should be not to get distracted by other topics. In case another important topic comes up and immediate attention is not needed, then it can be used as the next topic. However, in case urgent attention is required, then this would need to be discussed together with a given toolbox talk.

When trying to cover more than one topic the message delivery can become weak and lost during the toolbox talk. Another key element is that it needs to be relevant for the audience of toolbox talk. In this perspective, we must make sure that the chosen topic is related to the particular industry and workplace. In order to make it more engaging, you can focus on the personal agenda of employees’ as well. One must bear in mind that the workers will lose their interest if they feel that the given topic does not apply to them directly.

Moreover, we have to keep it simple and avoid jargon to ensure that our talk can be followed easily. In order to make it easy, the topic can be divided into basic segments, such as, an introduction, the dangers, the controls and any legal requirements. Likewise, we will have to pay attention to those employees who are new or inexperienced, similarly to the employees where their basic language is not English. Last but not the least; one should demonstrate his/her point because no one wants to be lectured about something. Therefore, the toolbox talk should be made interactive because the audience is more likely to concentrate when they are involved in the discussion. There different effective ways to engage their audience like questions, discussions, demonstrations, and practical examples which will also be useful for them to retain the information.

Now that we have answered what is a toolbox talk and how to develop one it should be straight forward to get stated creating some relevant ones. However, as this can be a very time consuming task, you might be interested in our range of toolbox talk packages with ready to deliver toolbox talks.

Continue to Toolbox Talk Packages