Toolbox talks – informal, onsite meetings with crew members – are one of the most effective ways for managers to keep workplace hazards and safety concerns on everyone’s minds before starting a job.
We aren’t talking day-long conferences here, just a few minutes to get the team ready to be up and at ‘em. You can even think of it as a pre-game huddle! GO TEAM!
So, what are the advantages of toolbox talks?
They act as reminders and refreshers, for one. They raise awareness. Toolbox talks help to build good habits, develop a safety-oriented work environment, and they demonstrate your company’s commitment to their workers.
If you don’t have toolbox talks with your crew members already, we’ll tell you how to go about it below — and why they are such a good idea.
# 1: Be Prepared
Read through your notes before gathering your crew so you are prepared with your topic and ready to answer any questions that may come up. Speak clearly, so the whole team can hear, and be aware that this is a 5-10 minute affair.
# 2: Choose a Quiet Spot
Keep a location in mind on the work site where you will hold your toolbox talks. There should be no noise in the near vicinity or distractions of any kind. This way, you know you have the team’s attention and they will listen to what you have to say.
# 3: Bring Props If Needed
It is always good to have props to demonstrate what you’re talking about. For example, use an actual stepladder when you’re talking about its safe placement. Being able to see makes the message sink in that much faster.
# 4: Encourage Questions
Your team members will ask you questions. Be patient when responding, no matter how basic the question, because they are genuinely curious and want further information. It is, after all, in the best interest of their safety.
# 5: Maintain a Record
You need to keep a log of dates and times of meetings, who led the toolbox talks, and a list of those who attended. It is not an attendance register, but with a log, you will feel more organized. In case someone misses a meeting for whatever reason, you can brief them later on the most important points.
All the best!