21st March, 2023
There is no legal requirement to carry toolbox talks out daily, so don’t panic if you’re not that frequent with them yet. But there are many reasons why daily toolbox talks are better for your business, health, safety, and your team. In this post, we look at 9 reasons to have daily talks.
Toolbox talks might seem like a small thing in health and safety - but don't underestimate their impact. These short health and safety moments give you and your team the chance to discuss issues that could put you in harm's way.
But how often should toolbox talks be done? And do you really need to carry them out daily?
There's no legal requirement to carry out toolbox talks daily, so if you don't do them every day yet, don’t worry.
But the law does require you to provide health and safety information, instruction and training to your team. Toolbox talks can be part of this requirement, and much more.
The benefits of giving daily toolbox talks to your team might make you believe it's worth taking 5-10 minutes out of each day to talk about safety.
There are many reasons why daily toolbox talks are better for your business, health and safety management, and the team. Here are 9 reasons to have daily toolbox talks:
Ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? We all have! And maybe those days you're not thinking straight, or have a shorter fuse.
But accidents can happen on any day. And the day they are most likely to happen is the day health and safety have been forgotten. Health and safety can't have days off!
When you start each day with a quick 5-10 minute toolbox talk, it serves as a reminder about the importance of health and safety at work. It gets people's minds focused on the hazards and risks they are about to face.
Your talk reminds them of what they need to do to stay safe. It starts the day with a positive health and safety attitude.
Providing information, instruction and training to employees is a legal requirement, and toolbox talks can be an important part of that.
Toolbox talks are not a substitute for a full health and safety training course. But that course taken 2 years ago is now a distant memory, and toolbox talk can help to keep safety knowledge fresh in the mind.
Things change, it's a fact of life. Whether there has been a change in regulations or you're introducing a new tool or substance, it is important to keep your team up to date.
A quick toolbox talk can be used to communicate any updates or changes to workers. It might be used to discuss how the changes will affect them, and what new procedures are in place.
Having good health and safety habits makes everything easier - including giving toolbox talks.
Informal toolbox talks can often be missed or carried out too infrequently. The benefit of a daily toolbox is that it becomes part of a routine. Part of the working day.
Carried out daily, toolbox talks become part of a habit. A habit that will help the team develop a positive health and safety attitude. A habit that creates a safer work environment.
If you arrive at work a little flustered - maybe you were late getting up, perhaps the traffic was bad, or you haven't quite woken up yet - is your mind on safety? Are you alert?
To be safe at work, you need to be alert to the health and safety hazards and risks around you. Not on autopilot, and not half-asleep.
A daily toolbox talk will keep the team alert, by raising health and safety awareness before work starts.
Health and safety isn't the most natural conversation starter. Unless there has been an incident, a health and safety talk probably isn't going to happen unplanned.
A toolbox talk gets safety on the mind, and if it sparks some discussion, team members can help each other stay safe. Short toolbox talks that are to the point and interesting are more likely to be remembered.
A team that is is clued up on the health and safety measures needed is more likely to notice when something not right... "Hey Tim, put your goggles on, remember that talk on eye protection?!".
The talk might also create a conversation between management and workers about an issue at work, that may have otherwise gone unreported. Feedback from your team after the talk can be just as important as the talk itself.
Awareness is knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. Toolbox talks can cover high-risk issues, but they are also a great opportunity to raise awareness of some of the lower-risk health and safety subjects.
Your toolbox talks could include topics that are not often covered by bigger training courses. For example, you might not have a full training course on horseplay or how messing around at work and behaviour can cause accidents. But you could certainly have a toolbox talk about it.
You can also cover topics that are specific to your workplace, such as your signing-in procedures or site rules.
Daily toolbox talks should each focus on one subject, and gradually, day after day, overall health and safety awareness grows.
Good leadership and strong management commitment are vital to a successful health and safety strategy. Your business health and safety culture starts with good leadership.
Putting health and safety on the agenda each day shows that it's something that is taken seriously. And if it's taken seriously at the top, health and safety is more likely to be taken seriously at all levels of the business.
What better way to show management commitment to safe working practices than a daily reminder?
So why do some businesses have poor health and safety records? Because growing a positive health and safety culture takes time and effort, and everyone's involvement.
Your health and safety culture is the values, attitudes, competency and behaviours of everyone in the business. Regular toolbox talks can form part of the health and safety management system to grow your health and safety culture in the right direction.
Wondering how to come up with enough topics for regular toolbox talks? Check out our blog post with details of 100 toolbox talk topics you can use. Or manage your toolbox talks online with the Talks Plan.
This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.
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