Toolbox talks are a simple, effective way to ensure crew members are on the same page, operating effectively and remaining aware of the dangers surrounding them. That is, when they’re carried out the right way. Between busy schedules and active job sites, toolbox talks have a tendency to become rushed, or to fall by the wayside altogether. As we continue through Safety Month 2020 this June, the FUSED Industries team wants to take a moment to highlight the benefits such team meetups offer, and to provide a few helpful tips. Read on for expert advice aimed at helping your team make the most of its toolbox talks.
Keep Meetings Concise and On-Topic
The best toolbox talks are quick-hitting meetups that stick to a topic — or small group of topics — the entire team can relate to. Make an effort to keep meetings in the range of 15 to 30 minutes, if possible, and plan topics around tasks and projects your crew is taking on. It’s OK to incorporate other information, such as important company updates, into toolbox talks, but try to avoid lengthy discussions that could eat up time and pull focus away from the meeting’s intended purpose.
Bring Real-World Examples into the Mix
Discussions about fall protection, personal protective equipment (PPE) and construction risks are a great start, but actual examples can really help hit a topic home. Was there a recent issue on a job site that raised safety concerns? Has a construction injury or incident made recent headlines? Find an appropriate way to work those into your toolbox talks. Of course, you’ll want to avoid raising the topic in a way that might lead to embarrassment among crew members.
Encourage Open Conversation
Make an effort to get everyone engaged. From time to time, invite different team members to lead your toolbox talks, as this can bring added interest and encourage those leading the meeting to put extra thought into their practices. Toward the end of your meetings, open the floor up to questions, comments and concerns — and ask the team to keep things civil. For issues people might feel uncomfortable discussing in front of the entire team, allow crew members to make confidential reports, or to take issues to a trusted supervisor. After all, the goal is to get everyone working together to ensure safe, efficient job site practices.
Toolbox talks are a simple addition to your construction crew’s day-to-day operations, but they can have a tremendous impact. Remember to play it safe out there — not just during Safety Month 2020, but all year long.