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What do you talk about in toolbox talks?

24-May-2013

How many times have you struggled to come up with accurate, effective material to use in your toolbox talks or safety meetings? If you're like most of us, this happens often.

We all know that we need to hold toolbox talks or safety meeting.  However in my experience, these are often:

  • hastily prepared
  • lack any support documents (eg handouts for workers)
  • performed by time-poor supervisors
  • postponed, cancelled or don’t run to schedule
  • lacking in interaction between workers and the presenter

Getting workers to “buy in” to the process doesn’t come easily in many organisations.  However over time, if the topics are presented professionally, have good content and workers are encouraged to participate, a shift in worker engagement will happen.

The frequency of these meetings will depend on the size, nature and location of the workplace. If you perform high risk hazardous activities you may need to do daily toolbox meetings - such as on construction sites. Most trades or warehouse businesses will hold a weekly or fortnightly meeting and in businesses with traditionally low risks such as an office environment a monthly or even quarterly meeting will be sufficient. 

The challenge, particularly in high risk activities is the time and resources required.  Best practice businesses run Toolbox Talks that typically last around 10-15 minutes each. However this requires a degree of preparation and commitment from the presenter to make sure they topics are meaningful and encourage workers to participate.  Read more...

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