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WTR

Toolbox talks

12 October 2015

Toolbox talks

Tool box talks are delivered at the level where it counts: the worker doing the job. They refer to quick and easy meetings, "around the toolbox" as it were, designed to systematically educate workers in topics that will help keep them safe, and also allow workers to bring to the attention of their superiors situations they are facing that are not safe.Usually such meetings are kept to 10 or 15 minutes so that they will be efficient and easy to conduct. How often they are held depends on the company, size, nature and location of the site. Some hazardous activities may require daily meetings, while often a weekly meeting will be fine. 

Subjects of toolbax talks can vary, but can include revisions to company procedures, recent issues and incidents, safety best practices topic by topic, and more.
If such talks are practiced at your company and you're looking for material that will help you to make them effective, VHNZ will be publishing regular top 10 safety topic sheets formatted in such a way that a supervisor can cover off the points and have discussions on each topic. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when conducting a toolbox talk for your workers:

  • Try to hold the toolbox talk in an area that is free of noise and other distractions. If the workers cannot hear you talking, or are distracted by other activities in the area, they won't be focusing on your talk.
  • Speak clearly and directly.
  • Use a prop when possible to help you keep the workers attention. If you are giving a toolbox talk on setting up a portable step ladder, have one set up nearby so you can point out things as you conduct the talk.
  • Always give workers an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the toolbox talk.
  • Always document your toolbox talks. Record meeting dates, attendees and discussion items.
  • Last but not least, practice what you preach.

And remember by conducting toolbox talks it helps you as the employer meet your obligations under the H&S act to provide your staff with opportunities to participate in safety activities.