A toolbox talk is not, as the name suggests, a talk about toolboxes! A toolbox talk is a short health and safety talk, usually about a specific subject. Although the idea behind toolbox talks started with construction trades they are not only for the construction industry. Any company that values the health, well-being and safety of their workers should be having toolbox talks, and could be known as safety briefings for example. A toolbox talk should last as long as is necessary to ensure the team understands the material provided for that safety meeting. Toolbox talks are meant to be an addition to a safety program and not replace longer compliance training that is required and is more like an overview of the important facts and considerations.
Having short but frequent health and safety toolbox talks can significantly reduce workplace incidents. A recent report found that companies that conduct toolbox talks daily had a 64% reduction in total incident rates than those that conducted their toolbox talk meetings on a monthly basis.
So what are the benefits of toolbox talks?
- Toolbox talks help create an ongoing channel for open communication. People are given the opportunity to discuss safety measures and procedures, before a potentially harmful incident occur.
- Assist workers in understanding their job duties and how to manage them.
- Toolbox talks allow your workers to stay up to date with the latest news and safety regulations.
- Introduces workers to new safety rules, equipment, preventive practices and motivates the worker to follow standard operating procedures.
- Genuinely influence employee performance and boost team morale.
- Creates a culture of safety where employees feel valued.
Although there’s no legal requirement to carry out toolbox talks daily, the law does require any company to provide adequate health and safety information, instruction and training, so toolbox talks can be a welcome addition to that continuous flow of information and advice to enable a safe, working environment to minimise risks and promote good practice.
Every toolbox talk should ideally be recorded by the person who’s given the talk. Up to date records will show a clear report of discussions taken place in terms of operational safety. These records can not only benefit in showing who was present, they can also be used as a training tool to reflect on future hazards and learning.
Toolbox talks provide an easy way to keep safety on every team member’s mind, every day, every week. The goal of toolbox talks is to provide safety reminders, brief refreshers and quick lessons on safety topics that might not get covered in the longer safety training courses and the informal setting gives safety advisors a chance to answer questions, point out specific examples on the job site, and provide hands-on demonstrations, if needed.
Toolbox talks can help employees better understand how to stay safe while meeting their job duties. It also gives them the opportunity to engage in safety discussions and offer their suggestions on how the facility or company can improve safety.
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