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18th May, 2017

Are Toolbox Talks A Legal Requirement?

Toolbox talks are often used as part of a good health and safety management system to refresh, renew and provide health and safety information. But beyond being good practice, are toolbox talks a legal requirement?

When considering whether toolbox talks are a legal requirement, it is important to first ask what a toolbox talk is.

A toolbox talk is a way of giving health and safety information to the workforce, and to start a health and safety conversation.

When you dive into the hundreds and thousands of pages of health and safety legislation, you are not going to see a regulation stating that you must deliver a toolbox talk or x number of toolbox talks per year.

But there is the letter of the law, and then there is the spirit if the law.

Not only that, but there are specific regulation relating to the provision of information and instruction.

Lets look at a couple.

2. General duties of employers to their employees...

(c) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees.

Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

So the main health and safety act requires information, instruction, training to be given to employees.

There are also various regulations that further specify relevant health and safety information must be provided.

Information for employees

10.(1) Every employer shall provide his employees with comprehensible and relevant information on — (a)the risks to their health and safety identified by the assessment, (b)the preventive and protective measures...

13. (2) Every employer shall ensure that his employees are provided with adequate health and safety training.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Toolbox talks are certainly a way of providing relevant health and safety information and instruction.

They can also be used as a short form of refresher training in between more substantial health and safety courses that may be carried out as less frequent intervals.

So, are toolbox talks a legal requirement? They may not be a specific legal requirement, but they will certainly help you to comply with health and safety laws.

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