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Six steps to maximise your toolbox talks

by , 20 May 2014
Toolbox talks are your best way of touching base with your employees on healthy and safety issues. If, for example, there are new construction safety topics that affect your company, you can discuss them. If there's new training needed, you can begin the process here. Toolbox talks are a vital part of any safety programme, but you have to do them right.

If your toolbox talks are unstructured, they won't have the right effect. This means employees may not listen and won't get the life saving information they need.

So follow this structure, and your toolbox talks WILL have maximum impact.

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To keep your toolbox talks tight and to the point, follow this six step structure:

#1: Topic: This is the subject of the toolbox talk. This must focus on one specific idea or concern. If you try to fit too many safety messages in one talk, it won't have any structure from the beginning.
 
#2:  What's at stake? Give a brief description of the impact on life and limb. Your employees need to understand what can happen to them if they don't follow safety regulations. This impact could range from minor workplace injuries, serious injuries that stop them from working, or death.
 
#3: What's the danger? You must be very clear about the dangers your employees face every day. For example, the danger of starting a fire because someone didn't put out their cigarette properly.
 
#4: Example: Tell your employees about an incident that actually happened somewhere at sometime. Just talking about workplace hazards may not have the full impact, but telling employees about how a hazard affected someone's life will have more impact. You want to create the 'that could be me' feeling in your employees.
 
So how do you conclude your toolbox talk?
 
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Use these two last steps to conclude your toolbox talk and ensure the info you give sticks

 
#5: How to protect yourself: Give your employees a list of things they can do to protect themselves. This should be clear and can include short demonstrations.
 
#6: Final word: Finish with a very brief statement that has touch of humour. This will lift the mood after a serious talk.
 
Use this simple six step structure and your toolbox talks will have maximum impact.
 

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