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How to conduct a tool box talk

Updated February 21, 2017

A Toolbox talk is a type of meeting used on construction sites. Its main purpose is to provide a vehicle through which site management can inform site staff of important safety issues, including safety training to improve general safety on site or updates on recent incidents. They can be conducted on an ongoing basis, for example, daily or weekly, or as needed when issues arise. Toolbox meetings are an essential part of construction site safety management.

Inform site staff of the upcoming Toolbox meeting. Contact trade foremen and instruct them to ensure that their staff are aware of the talk and will be in attendance. Post notices around the site in high-traffic areas, for example, in the lunch room and at lift lobbies.

Compile a list of topics for discussion. Research safety training updates from industry sources, and consult the safety manager or safety log for details of any recent incidents. Make sure that your material is relevant to current activities on site. For example, if you are currently at the excavation stage, you could include information relating to caving and fall risks.

Conduct the talk in an informal but orderly manner. Address each issue clearly and succinctly without rushing through important information.

Invite the attendants to provide feedback or questions for discussion. This is an excellent opportunity to obtain input from site staff. Take notes and follow up on any issues raised at the next Toolbox meeting.

Keep it brief. Toolbox talks should never exceed 15 minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • Computer
  • Printing paper
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About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.