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How to conduct a toolbox talks session in ten simple steps

by , 24 March 2014
You're legally obligated to conduct toolbox talks in your workplace. These talks will help you to train your employees to recognise and avoid unsafe conditions. If you want to do this effectively, it's important that you follow these ten steps.

Conducting toolbox talks? Make sure you follow these ten steps

Step 1: Know your topic and plan your agenda a few days before the meeting so you're well prepared. Present the talk without reading it and lead a discussion afterward, says the Health & Safety Advisor.

Step 2: Start the meeting on a positive note. It's important to compliment a job well done. Remember that 'morale plays a bigger part than people think in affecting safety, productivity and job satisfaction,' says the Advisor.

Step 3: Keep it informal. Even though you're also using other resources, use your own words in the actual presentation.

Step 4: Invite people to participate. The purpose of any toolbox talk is to get employees to think about safety problems. Make the talk a hands-on session. Ask employees to name hazards and what to do about them. Encourage them to offer suggestions to improve safety.


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That's not all to conducting toolbox talks

Step 5: Wherever possible, use actual equipment to illustrate your points.

Step 6: Limit the length of your presentation. Given your job function, you'd be the best judge of how much time to set aside, says the Health & Safety Advisor.

Just remember that the recommended time for toolbox talks is 15 minutes.

Step 7: Use visual examples. If you're talking about ladders, have one handy so you can point out loose rungs or split side rails as you mention them in your discussion. Also include legal references where you can so your employees know why they have to comply with certain tasks.

Step 8: Invite your employees to tell stories about injuries they've witnessed or heard about. This way employees can learn from each other as well as from the discussion.

Step 9: Ask employees if they have any questions. Use open-ended questions instead of closed-questions that require only a 'yes' or 'no' answer.

Step 10: Do a wrap-up. Reinforce the important points brought out during the meeting. Thank your staff for their interest and enthusiasm.

There you have it. Following these ten steps will help ensure you conduct your toolbox talks effectively.

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