A ‘tool box talk’ is a short presentation to the workforce on a single aspect of health and safety. Tool box talks are a useful way of keeping health and safety at the forefront of your team’s minds and making them aware of the current risks and hazards.
They can be simple discussions, a presentation or video.
The Best Tool Box Talks are:
|Relevant:||Make sure the talk is about issues on your own worksite and the work you do. Make it personal|
|In the right place:||Give the talk where the workers can fully concentrate on your messages|
|Include stories:||Tell a real story that shows why your talk is essential and the issue is real|
|Improve:||Listen to feedback and act on it for the next talk|
|Brief:||Focus on a single topic|
|Engaging:||Make the talk interactive and encourage participation. For example, set a problem and ask for solutions|
|Controlled:||Manage the group so that everyone focusses on the subject and keep any discussions relevant to the topic|
How to Do Great Tool Box Talks
- Workers pay more attention if the talk is from an experienced, respected and trusted worker rather than a book-trained teacher with no experience
- Most people underestimate the risks they take on the job. Getting people to think about the dangers makes a situation more real
- Be enthusiastic and deliver a clear message about the importance of the topic
- Know the audience. If workers don’t understand English think how to get the messages across
- Keep it simple. Use short, straightforward words and phrases avoiding slang or jargon
- Respect your audience and listen to their views
- Use the right tone of voice
- Do not rush the presentation
- Use open questions, rather than questions people just answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to
- Some topics may need more of an explanation than others. Be patient
- Keep positive. Focus on what people can do to create a safe working environment and not the negatives
And remember – tool box talks prevent accidents or incidents – but you may never know if they did!
These are short guidance notes that highlight an incident or unsafe practice, sent out quickly to alert people about an issue and prevent similar events. They usually contain immediate actions or a message to spread best practice. Most are communicated by email, text messages, a company website page or newsletter.
Further Advice and Resources
- To see some examples of safety alerts go to the Southern Shield website (bit.ly/2rcbweY)
- The HSE have examples of tool box talks (bit.ly/2rcgfgB)
This chapter is taken from my latest book – Construction Guide to Health and Wellbeing available on Amazon