How to Conduct a Toolbox Talk

Introduction

The Health and Safety in Employment Act places duties on employers to provide their staff with opportunities to participate in safety activities. Toolbox meetings are a conduit for information and provide workers with the opportunity to have their say about hazards/ controls, incidents/health promotion accidents, and company procedures.

Toolbox meetings should be run on a regular basis; the frequency of meetings will depend on the size, nature and location of the site. Some hazardous activities could require daily meetings, while often a weekly/fortnightly/monthly meeting will suffice.

Why we run Safety Meetings

› Inform workers of changes to company procedures

› Identify new hazards and review existing hazards

› Develop/review accident and incident data

› Employee participation

› Communication

› Health promotion/education

› Develop/review work processes

› Short training sessions

Structure of Meetings

Safety meetings for workers should be short and to the point. Meeting on a regular basis and running for 10-15 minutes is an ideal way to involve workers and make the most effective impact. Monday morning is an ideal time to run the meeting as workers can be briefed on the weeks programme and review the previous week’s activities. Depending on the nature of the business it is advisable to conduct an inspection of the work area prior to a meeting to help identify any problems and to assist with topical items for discussion.

Details of meetings should be recorded and kept on file. It is important to record meeting dates, attendees and discussion items, even follow up items from hazards, accidents, and incidents. Managers and supervisors will normally run the safety meeting but workers can also assist in the process. It is a good idea to use trainees or young workers to conduct inspections and run meetings as they are the future managers, they are not biased by entrenched behaviours and it gives them a good grounding in the hazard management process.

Topics for Discussion

Discussion points at safety meetings should be topical and relevant to current or upcoming activities in the workplace. Topical items for discussion can be identified by asking workers for input, changes in the plant or work process or work environment, or in response to accidents/incidents in the workplace.

Listed below are some suggested topics for discussion:

› What items would workers like to discuss?

› Introduction of new plant or processes

› Development of task analysis or methodologies

› Changes in season e.g. sun smart, dehydration

› Use of plant

› Handling of materials

› Identifying training requirements.

Questions and Answers

At the end of each Toolbox Talk, it is a good idea to go over what has been learned. End the session with ‘questions and answers’ to make sure the messages have got through to your team.

Related Topics

Look to see if there are ‘related topic’ toolbox talks.

It might be a good idea to schedule a similar toolbox talk in for the next session to continue a productive learning process.