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25th April, 2017

What Makes A Good Toolbox Talk?

A good toolbox talk requires a combination of factors… good subject, good content, good delivery, and good records.

Without anyone of the above requirements, your toolbox talk could end up being boring or worse, pointless.

Toolbox talks should be quick and easy, but they do take time to prepare (unless you use our online toolbox talk platform of course!).

Health and safety talks are important, and if you get it right, they can make a real difference in the health, safety and wellbeing of your workforce.

Subject

The first step for delivering a good toolbox talk, is to pick the right subject.

There is no point delivering a talk on lone working if your team are working together on a new build project, and haven’t done any lone work in the past year.

Not only will this make the talk boring, because it is not considered relevant by your team, but it will also make the talk pretty pointless. Better to do a lone working talk just before some lone work actually takes place, so that the information is fresh in the mind.

Pick a subject that is relevant to the work that is being done, like site security, site plant, lifting operations, working at height etc. Stuck for ideas? Check out 100 toolbox talk ideas.

Content

Now you have your subject, you need to put together the content of talk.

To keep the talk on point, make sure you get in all the important information, and that information you include is up to date.

Don’t try to cram in everything about the subject, this is not a full health and safety course, just a 5 minute refresher.

If it’s a big subject, for example COSHH, you could break it down into smaller talks spread over several days, e.g. COSHH assessment, dust, WELs, fuel etc.

Delivery

When you deliver your talk, if the subject is relevant and the content is good, you should already have some interest from your team.

Keep this interest, by delivery the talk in a positive way. If you are delivering the talk in person, make sure you have gone over the talk before hand and are familiar with the topic, prepare for any questions.

You can deliver toolbox talks in a variety of ways, face-to-face, online, apps, video, handouts – just make sure whatever you choose engages your team and works for you.

Records

If you don’t keep records, your toolbox talks could end up being fairly pointless. Who has done which talk? Did everyone understand? Did everyone listen? Does anyone need more information?

Records could be a simple as a register of attendance, or even better, a quick assessment of the subject covered, so know who has completed and understood the talk.

This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and a degree in construction management. She is NEBOSH qualified and a member of IOSH.

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