Kevin Ian Schmidt

12 Months of Toolbox Talks

A Toolbox Talk is an informal safety meeting, conducted at the job site prior to the commencement of a job or work shift. Toolbox talks focus on safety aspects related to the specific job at hand. These meetings are normally 10-15 minutes, and cover topics such as workplace hazards and safe work practices.

Toolbox talks are a very effective way to refresh workers’ knowledge, cover last minute safety checks and exchange information with experienced workers.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires organizations in some industries to conduct safety talks and training. According to the OHSA, you have a duty to protect your employees and to ensure you train them on the risks around them and how perform job tasks safely. Toolbox Talks are an effective way to comply with these obligations. They are not intended to take the place of formal OSHA safety training for workers. Talks are meant to supplement training and serve as reminders of your organization’s safety goals.

Here are 4 tips for a quality Toolbox Talk

1. Talk directly to your audience. Ensure the topic is relevant to your industry and worksite. You can also focus on their personal agenda—staying safe so they can attend their kid’s soccer game after work, participate in off-the-job hobbies and continue providing for their families. Make sure the talk matters to employees both on and off the job. If workers don’t feel the topic applies directly to them you will have a hard time keeping their interest.

2. Keep it brief. People have limited attention spans and they’ll eventually start tuning you out no matter how important the topic of your toolbox talk is. Make only the necessary points, and put additional information in a handout or a follow-up toolbox talk on a later day.

3. Stay positive! Incident investigations are a reactive approach to something negative happening—and toolbox talks can be the exact opposite. They’re an opportunity to proactively encourage safe behavior before an incident takes place. Keep the focus on what can be done to create a safe workplace instead of focusing on what has gone wrong in the past.

4. Demonstrate your point. Nobody wants to feel like they’re at a lecture so try to make your talk interactive – when the audience is involved they are more likely to pay attention. Demonstrations, discussions and hands-on examples are all effective ways to get people to participate—and it will help them retain more of the information too.

12 Monthly Toolbox Talk Topics – FREE



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