A Toolbox Talk is an informal safety meeting that focuses on safety topics related to the specific job, such as workplace hazards and safe work practices. Meetings are normally short in duration (less than 15 minutes) and are generally conducted at a job site or at a department prior to the commencement of a job or work shift. It is a very effective method to refresh workers' knowledge, cover last-minute safety checks, and exchange information with the experienced workers.
Toolbox Talks are also intended to facilitate health and safety discussions on the job site and promote your organization’s safety culture. Toolbox talks/meetings are sometimes referred to as tailgate meetings, safety short talks or safety briefings.
Carrying Out the Training
Like all training, delivering the information effectively takes preparation and a desire to involve the workers in health and safety at the workplace. Employers may train workers to lead the training or have supervisors provide the training. Studies have shown peer-to-peer training is effective, participatory and well-retained.
Preparing to Teach the Training Sessions
- Spend about 15 minutes to become familiar with the Toolbox Talk.
- Print a copy of a relevant Toolbox Talk and think about how the topic relates to your specific worksite.
Advice for Trainers
Safety meetings work best if everyone actively participates. This makes it more interesting and more likely that people will remember the information you’ve given them.
Here are some ways to encourage everyone to get involved:
- Ask questions instead of simply giving them the information. After you ask a question, wait a short time to let people think. Then, call on volunteers to answer.
- Ask about personal experience. This can help the group see how the topic is relevant to them. You could ask: Has anyone here had personal experience in dealing with this hazard? What happened?
- Make sure everyone has a chance to talk. If one employee is talking too much, invite someone else to speak.
- Don’t fake it. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t guess. Write the question down and promise to get back to them.
- Stick to the topic. If the crew’s questions and comments move too far from the topic, tell them that their concerns can be addressed later, either privately or in a future safety meeting.