A toolbox talk is an informal safety meeting that is part of an organization's overall safety program.
Toolbox meetings are generally conducted at the job site prior to the commencement of a job or work shift. A toolbox talk covers special topics on safety aspects related to the specific job. Meetings are normally short in duration and cover topics such as workplace hazards and safe work practices.
Toolbox talks are generally considered a very effective method for refreshing workers' knowledge in between training sessions, cover last-minute safety checks, and exchange information with the experienced workers.
Toolbox talks are sometimes referred to as toolbox meetings, tailgate meetings, or safety briefings.
The salient features of a toolbox talk are as follows:
- Should be scheduled at the beginning of the work shift (although a similar debriefing can take place at the end of a shift, especially following a near miss or a newly identified hazard or risk)
- Meeting should be done at the job site
- Lasts approximately 10 to 15 minutes
- Discussion and review of the previous meetings
- Discussion of the current tasks to be done
- Discussion of the safety issues including environment, hazards; use of personnel protective equipment, first aid, and medical support; and emergency procedures
- Worker participation
- There may be review and recapitulation, sometimes with a quiz or test
Toolbox talks have a number of beneficial effects, including:
- Promotes safety awareness, encourages employee involvement in the safety program
- Introduces workers to new safety rules, equipment, preventive practices and motivates workers to follow standard operating procedures
- Can be customized to deal specifically with the hazards the workers will be facing during their shift
- Provides vital information to the workers on accident causes, types, and preventive actions
- Emphasizes planning, preparation, supervision, and documentation
- Helps when reviewing new laws or industry standards, company policies, and procedures
- Encourages workers to discuss their experiences that help to review safety procedures in future