Toolbox talks (also known as tailgate safety meetings or safety briefs) are an increasingly popular and effective way to quickly review and reinforce safety procedures and responsibilities.
Because these talks are shorter and less formal than classroom training, they can be delivered daily or weekly with less overall preparation time than formal training sessions require. For some, toolbox talks can also help to meet the requirement for refresher training under various regulations and standards.
Here are some tips on how to give effective toolbox talks:
- Choose timely topics around reoccurring safety problems you encounter regularly or upcoming changes that workers need to be aware of
- Give talks at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly) to establish and reinforce the importance of safety in your company’s culture
- Explain at the beginning of the talk why the subject is important and what you expect workers to learn
- Use a written toolbox talk as a guide, but keep the presentation informal and conversational
- Encourage workers to participate by asking questions about the topic
- Use visual examples and real equipment, if possible, to relay the information
- Do a wrap-up at the end of the talk to reinforce important points
- Check employee understanding of the talk by asking them to name related hazards they encounter and how to avoid them
- Have participants print and sign their names on a written toolbox talk or another sheet to document attendance
Toolbox talks can help employees better understand how to stay safe while meeting their job duties. It also gives them the opportunity to engage in safety discussions and offer their suggestions on how the facility or company can improve safety.