Are your Safety Toolbox Talks Effective?


Health & Safety
Are your Safety Toolbox Talks Effective?

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What if I told you that the key to success is Interaction?

Like so many things in life - getting people personally involved is the way to make best use of the time you spend reviewing toolbox talk content. 


First things first... What is a toolbox talk?

Generally, a "Safety Toolbox Talk" is a routine group discussion focusing on a specific safety topic or issue.  This discussion may be planned every morning before heading to or beginning work - or it may be something that is scheduled every Monday morning to kick off the work week, etc.  Consistency is important. 

But, it's more than that.. 


A Safety Toolbox Talk is...

–It is an opportunity for employee conversation and discussion where team members are comfortable to get involved, ask questions and provide examples of things they've seen or experienced regarding the subjecct. 

–Use your scheduled Toolbox Talks to take advantage of all the knowledge and experience of everyone on your work site.

–Handouts and self-guided review is great and all, but by engaging your employees personally, you are demonstrating that everyone’s safety is important and reinforcing a positive safety culture!


Building a successful Safety Toolbox Talk program requires the following:

Keep it short – Smaller talks are easier to digest and retain!  Be sure to allow some time for Q&A.tradebe-safety-blog-toolbox-talks

  • Make it a habit – Delivering more frequent and regular TTs will establish and reinforce the importance of safety.
  • Make it relevant – Choose topics that reflect the employee’s work.  Delivering the talk in the working environment helps to demonstrate how the topic applies to them.
  • Stay positive – Safety talks are an opportunity to proactively encourage safe behavior and improve workplace safety BEFORE an incident takes place.
  • Make it relatable – The Toolbox Talk topic should be a real-world, relatable subject.  The best discussions include examples of real-world incidents and events whenever possible.  Visuals are also a good way to communicate the subject point and leave the team remembering the takeaway after the meeting.
  • Encourage participation – Ask questions of your employees during the talk.  Ask them if they have had any personal experiences with the topic, what happened, and what did they learn.  Make sure everyone has a chance to talk.
  • Leaders do not always have to have the answers –  If you're leading the toolbox talk discussion, remember that it is a conversation and not necessary to always have all the answers because of the leadership role you play.  It is perfectly fine, and actually respected, to say it you don't have the answer to a question. Note any open items or questions brought up during the talk and ensure you research and seek out the correct answer after the meeting.  Also, be sure to get back to the team with the answer.  If possible the same day but if not - most importantly, do what you say you are going to do and get back to them timely.
  • Stick to the topic – Use a handout  (visual) to help guide the discussion and focus on one subject.  Try to keep employee questions relevant.  If something important comes up that deserves more time as a separate stand-alone topic, save it for a future Toolbox Talk!


So, to summarize, Safety Toolbox Talks are only effective if the audience listens, is engaged, and retains the material.   

The Key to Effective Safety Toolbox Talks is discussion - interactive discussion!  Never talk TO your audience - instead be sure you're discussing the topic WITH them. 


For a truly interactive program - consider having each attendee present their very own toolbox talk discussion - once a week, once a month, whatever works.  Just get your folks involved!


Need help with your Safety and Compliance Training Programs? 

Contact us now and let us put our expertise to work for you! 


“Be Safe - Work Safe. Safety is No Accident!”

Erika Reichard, Regional Training Manager, Tradebe USA

#SafetyBlog #HealthandSafety #HealthandSafetyPlan  #SafetyTraining #CreativeTraining #ToolboxTalks #BeSafeWorkSafe #SafetyisNoAccident 



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