Safety should be front of mind for everyone, across every level of the business. As a manager, you should always give your team plenty of opportunities to raise safety questions or concerns. One way to do this is through investing in regular toolbox talks.
What is a toolbox talk?
Depending on your industry, you’re probably already very familiar with the phrase ‘toolbox talks’. Alternatively, you may refer to it as something different such as:
Simply put, a toolbox talk is an informal meeting centred around a particular safety topic. These healthy discussions give your team the chance to address issues head on, that could potentially put workers in danger. They’re typically performed onsite or prior to the commencement of a job or shift. They act as a great refresher and reinforce the importance of safety at work.
Toolbox talks are most effective when their duration is kept short. We recommend keeping yours under 15 minutes. Any longer, and you risk losing your team’s attention, or drowning out the key message. Focus on just one simple point at each toolbox talk, as opposed to overloading your crew with multiple pieces of information. As toolbox talks are short, they can be conducted quite easily and regularly without affecting productivity or output.
The importance of toolbox talks
They help foster a culture of safety
Regular toolbox talks help create a company-wide commitment to safety. They highlight to every employee that safety is not a once and done annual checklist item, but an ongoing priority and area of focus. These short and scheduled discussions promote teamwork and drive a safety-first approach. The more you reinforce safe practises and proper procedures, the less likely they’ll be a disconnect between the official safety training and what is actually done on a day-to-day basis.
Toolbox talks provide an open channel for communication
By creating an avenue for regular safety discussions in an informal setting, you’re effectively normalising the process of raising concerns and questions. 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 occurs.
Toolbox talks also provide an environment where people can easily discuss recent incidents or near misses. We all know it’s important to learn from mistakes, and unfortunately in life accidents are inevitable. Teams can feel comfortable talking about what happened – what could have happened – and how to make sure something more serious doesn’t happen again.
The benefits far outweigh the cost
The cost of implementing regular toolbox talks in the workplace is minimal. At only 10-15 minutes in duration, they have the potential to reduce serious harm or injury, prevent costly damage to property or equipment, and could even save a life.
They keep everyone up to speed
The workforce is continuously evolving. By hosting regular toolbox talks, you can make sure your team stays up to date with the latest safety updates and best practises. Plus, it ensures the basics are regularly refreshed.
Toolbox talks can highlight management’s commitment to safety
Good leadership is essential for a successful safety strategy. By regularly scheduling toolbox talks, you’re demonstrating that safety is a priority and something that is taken very seriously in your place of work. A safe work culture stems from management and filters down throughout every level of the business. Become the example you want the rest of your team to follow.
Toolbox talks bring many benefits and can become an integral part of your wider safety strategy. At LSA we operate under a ‘Think Safe, Work Safe, Stay Safe' mantra, and believe every individual has the right to return home safely and unharmed at the end of each day.
Learn more about our commitment to safety and how we can assist you and your business today.