Safety toolbox talks are goldmine for companies.
It gives safety managers an opportunity to explore the risks of specific health and safety issues and how to fix them.
When they are effective and held frequently, they can have a positive impact on health and safety in the workplace.
However, the problem is, many toolbox meetings fall short in terms of engagement and delivering the content for employees to digest.
In this guide you will learn 10 simple steps that might just help you run more engaging and more effective toolbox talks.
Step 1: Never Go Into Safety Talk Unprepared
The first and most important step is planning and preparation before calling a toolbox talk.
Not doing this will just waste everyone’s time and the team will easily see how unprepared you are.
As a safety professional that doesn’t look good.
What you should do is think about whether a toolbox talk needs to take place. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have to hold it now?
- What is the subject matter?
- What do you know about the subject?
- What questions should you ask the team?
- And what can you expect back from them?
The more detailed planning and better prepared you are, the better the meeting toolbox will be. That will reflect in the meeting.
Step 2: You Must Have A Clearly Defined Goal
While preparing, you should set out clearly defined goals of exactly what changes of behavior you would like to achieve after the safety meeting and how you are going to facilitate that.
This could include:
- How you want to involve the attendees
- The questions you may wish to ask them
- And other important points to raise if the discussion seems like it might end
The clearer your goals are prior to the meeting, the better you’ll be able to narrow down on what’s important.
Step 3: Preparing The Team For A Meeting
Set a simple reminder 24 to 48 hours prior to the toolbox talk taking place that the meeting is on and what the objective is.
This will allow the attendees to think about the subject matter and get better prepared to participate.
Step 4: As The Safety Manager Work On Your Delivery
The more knowledgeable you are about a topic, you will be able to deliver your talk in confidence.
When that is combined with confidence and a few practice sessions to master your delivery, your performance will be far more engaging.
Practice keeping your message simple, using short easy to understand language, avoiding slang words and jargon.
A well practiced and delivered presentation is just as recognizable as no practice at all and poor delivery.
Step 5: Reward Safety Practices
Whenever you see an employee doing something right from a safety point of view, start the toolbox talk by rewarding that person with some positive feedback on their performance.
Giving a small thing like a gift voucher from a local retailer or maybe just a well-worded certificate recognizing them for their actions can make a huge difference.
And you don’t have to spend money, simply providing positive feedback in front of their peers is powerful.
Step 6: Make Good Eye Contact With Team and Speak Clearly
Good positive eye contact and a clear audible that is varied in tone and pitch will always keep your audience attention.
Try your best to focus on the positive, talk about what can be done to create a healthy and safe workplace environment, instead of what can or has gone wrong.
Also remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, so don’t be afraid to use pictures or video to sell your safety message.
Doing this is a powerful way of reinforcing critical safety points and can improve the team’s creative thinking and decision-making abilities.
They can be really helpful to your workmates whose first language is not English.
Step 7: Ask Questions Early
Once you have delivered a short enthusiastic introduction to the topic, ask questions early.
Participants are usually more alert at the start of a meeting, so keep your introduction brief and call on some participation from your audience early by using open-ended questions.
People are more likely to learn more effectively when they are encouraged to draw on their own experiences rather than being told.
So ask don’t tell.
Step 8: Give Your Team A Chance To Talk
Once you have mastered the art of getting your audience involved, you will find that some of the most important points from your toolbox talk will in fact come from them.
So it’s important to let them speak.
Your job is to listen proactively by using positive body language. For example you can do an enthusiastic nod or a smile or through verbal recognition.
This can only encourage vibrant discussion. As the leader try your best to keep the discussion flowing by using follow-up questions and requesting them to elaborate on answers.
Have an open mind and entertain alternative points of view and remember your task is to facilitate not dominate.
Step 9: Get Feedback After Each Toolbox Safety Meeting
Ask the employees.
- What was good?
- What wasn’t so good?
- How could it be improved?
- Do they think their behavior might change as a result of the meeting?
You can even create a short feedback form.
This will be very valuable for when planning your next meeting.
Step 10: Automate Your Toolbox Talks
Ideally, a toolbox talk should be done daily or every other day to enforce safety practices but that takes a lot of effort and resources to organize and negatively affect production time.
Instead, use a tool like Safelyio, that allows safety managers to schedule toolbox talks that are sent via email to employees.
]You can even send short video or text-based toolbox talks that are easy to digest.