28th April, 2020
Toolbox talks are a great way to provide health and safety information to your team, and comply with legal requirements. Toolbox talks are a great way to keep your workforce refreshed and provide information. In this blog post we consider how often toolbox talks should be undertaken.
Toolbox talks are a great way to provide health and safety information to your team, and to comply with legal requirements. Many businesses carry out toolbox talks from time to time. These might be formally recorded or as casual conversation. They might be called safety briefings, safety chats, toolbox talks or safety moments. They might not even have a name. But businesses that create a formal structure around their safety talks, and do them often, can get the most benefits.
Remember, toolbox talks shouldn't take up much of your time. 5 - 10 minutes should be all that's needed. Any longer, and you risk losing the attention of your audience, and drowning out important information. And because toolbox talks are short, they can be done regularly without taking people away from their work.
How often then, should a toolbox talk be undertaken?
Well, firstly, there is no specific legal guidance on this. There are no rules that say you have to undertake toolbox talks, daily, weekly or on the first day of each month. It is down to you to decide when to carry out your toolbox talks.
Just because toolbox talks aren't a specific legal requirement, doesn't mean you shouldn't do them. Various regulations do require the provision of information to employees, such as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
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.
Toolbox talks are not the only way to provide this information, there are many other requirements such as inductions, risk assessments etc that are strictly required by law and can be used to communicate this information. And full training courses should also be provided as necessary.
But toolbox talks are a great way to keep your workforce refreshed and provide information that is both relevant and timely. If training courses were carried out months, or even years, ago, toolbox talks are a great way to refresh knowledge. If the topic has never been covered before, toolbox talks are also a great way to provide new information.
The information you provide should be both relevant, and of course, provided at the right time. It is not so much use telling your employees about a hazard or risk they are exposed to after the fact. It's too late. They need to know how to deal with a situation before they need to, you know, deal with it.
We recommend completing talks daily, or at least weekly so that they:
Regular toolbox talks, daily, or on a weekly schedule, will allow you to pick a topic relevant to the work that is taking place at that specific time. And they don't need to take up a lot of your time. A 5-minute chat before the shift starts can be all it takes to raise awareness of a topic, and get peoples minds on the health and safety issues they are about to deal with.
Toolbox talks should follow the mantra, little and often. These short safety talks deliver a bitesize chunk of important information. And given at the right time, on the right topic, they can make a real difference to your health and safety performance.
Drip feeding important health and safety information, and doing it regularly, helps you to create a positive health and safety culture amongst your team. Opening up communication channels around relevant topics. Demonstrating management commitment.
Pretty soon, everyone will have safety on their minds. And it's amazing how this can have a knock-on effect to other safety initiatives. Near miss reporting goes up. Awareness increases. Compliance improves. And accidents reduce. So while toolbox talks shouldn't be the only tool in your belt, so to speak, they can be a crucial part of your overall health and safety management.
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.
How often you carry out toolbox talks will depend on the risks and type of work you are undertaking, but it is good to get in a routine. This will allow you to cover a variety of topics at the time the information is most relevant and therefore valuable to your work.
The more often you carry out toolbox talks, the more beneficial they become, and we have written a post on the 9 reasons to have daily toolbox talks here.
Need help delivering toolbox talks? Get started with 30+ free toolbox talks for construction ready for you to download and use and site! Or get access to 100+ talks, records and reports with the Talks Plan membership.
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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