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13th May, 2017

What Is A Toolbox Talk?

You have probably heard the term toolbox talk used around construction sites, and it is often used in other industries as well, but what exactly is a toolbox talk?

Well, it is not (as the name suggests) a talk about toolboxes (sorry if that disappoints any toolbox enthusiasts reading!).

A toolbox talk, also known as a safety moment, health and safety brief, safety talk, safety minute, is a talk that goes by many aliases.

Essentially, all the above are the same thing by different names.

A toolbox talk is a short talk about a particular health and safety subject.

The talk should usually be 5 – 10 minutes in length, and only focus on one subject for each talk.

It should be:

  • Short
  • Relevant
  • Focused on one topic
  • Up to date

A toolbox talk is not a full safety course, and shouldn’t be treated as such. It should take up a half a day, and try to cover every health and safety topic at once.

You should not try to cram multiple toolbox talks into one day.

The whole purpose of a toolbox talk is to be a quick refresher on a single subject, to bring attention to a relevant health and safety topic, to keep knowledge refreshed.

They should be carried out regularly, so keeping the talks short is important so that they are not intrusive to the working day.

Having a routine of a particular time of day, usually when starting work or near the morning break works best, near the beginning of the shift so that the primary focus of the team is on the work ahead, rather than heading home.

A toolbox talk is designed to improve health and safety, by focusing on a subject that affects the team, either an activity or task that is being carried out, a hazard they are exposed to or a control or equipment that is in place.

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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