toolbox talksSafetyWorks! Tool Box Talks

SafetyWorks! Tool Box Talks cover a variety of common workplace safety and health problems. Read them, post them, share them with others, or use them for safety meetings.

Turn a SafetyWorks! Tool Box Talk into a Safety Meeting

A safety meeting -- or toolbox talk -- is an opportunity to discuss a specific safety and health topic in an informal setting. It's intended to be participatory, encouraging questions and discussion and drawing on workers' experience. It's not a lecture and there are no tests.

The safety meeting can be short (10-20 minutes) and it can be part of an existing staff or crew meeting.

Before you being the meeting:

  1. Does this topic relate to your workplace? If not, choose another topic.
  2. Look up your company rules or policies about this topic.
  3. Find out about any injuries, accidents or close calls in your company related to this topic.
  4. Do not hand out copies of the Safety Tip until after the meeting. You want workers to contribute their own ideas, not read off the sheet.

Begin the meeting:

  1. Read Section I to everyone at the meeting.
  2. Ask if anyone has a personal story about this topic. Or add one of your own. Get people involved. The meeting will work best if everyone participates.
  3. Ask the question in Section II. Give people time to suggest possible answers. Add points that no one mentions from the answers in Tips Section II.
  4. Discuss any problems at your workplace related to this topic. Ask: “Do you know of any problems with (this topic) at this workplace?” This might be a good time to bring up the injuries, accidents or close calls you found out about. Invite questions --- Remind people that there's no such thing as a stupid question.
  5. Ask the question in Section III. Again, give people time to suggest possible answers. Add points that no one mentions from the answers in the Tips Section III. Ask: "What can we do to solve our problems with (this topic)?" Encourage discussion.
  6. Ask: “Have you had any experience with (this topic) here or at other places you’ve worked that might help us work safer here?”
  7. If the company has rules or procedures around this topic, discuss them now.
  8. Ask if there’s anything else anyone wants to mention on this topic. Stick to the topic. If questions and comments stray from the meeting topic, tell people their questions will be addressed later, either privately or at a future safety meeting.
  9. Before you close, remind workers how to report any safety problems at your workplace.

After the meeting:

If you want, hand out copies of the Tool Box Talk sheet or post a copy on the bulletin board.

If anyone want to know more about this topic, try the OSHA web page or use the SafetyWorks! Ask the Expert page.

Email SafetyWorks! to suggest a topic for a future SafetyWorks! Tool Box Talk.