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Effective Toolbox Talks About Driving Safety Have These Things in Common

Two men discuss safety outside transport truck

Safety meetings are an opportunity for the manager or employer of a driving fleet to have all their workers in the same room at once, even if it’s only for a brief conversation before their shift begins. By conducting short and informal talks about driving safety, staff supervisors and safety professionals can strategically reinforce key safety messages they want workers to bear in mind while on the job. This could be about the importance of driving with awareness or tips for combatting highway hypnosis, for example. Regardless of which topic is chosen for discussion, effective toolbox talks on driving safety have the following things in common.

They Set Goals

What do you hope to accomplish with the toolbox talk? Your ability to clearly answer this question could be a major determinant in how effective the talk is. Safety talks are most successful when they’re direct and have clearly defined goals. Consider which safety issue is most pressing at the moment and make it the focus of the talk. For example, reminders on safe driving techniques for wet or rainy weather might be useful if there’s an upcoming stretch of inclement weather. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to describe in a single sentence what you want the talk to accomplish, and then keep it in mind as you write the toolbox talk.

They Combine Statistics With Engaging Stories

The best health and safety lessons are learned when they’re told from a personal, human perspective. They should also be relevant to your drivers and address real hazards they could encounter on the job. Use anecdotes and storytelling to your advantage—where possible, give an example to back up statistics, helping your drivers see the parallels and draw connections to their own personal safety when behind the wheel.

If you don’t think you have any relevant stories to share (or you’ve already told them all), ask someone to share their own story. Encouraging active participation can increase engagement, and hearing from more than one person will make it more likely for the safety lessons to be remembered once employees are out on the road.

They Look Beyond the Workplace

Sometimes discussions regarding safety can feel repetitive. To prevent your drivers from growing tired of the same few work-related topics, consider different methods of engaging them. One of the best ways to shake things up is to tell stories that happened off the job. Doing so will bring awareness to the fact that many incidents on the road are caused by human factors like rushing, frustration, fatigue and complacency—and that these factors can strike regardless of whether drivers are on the clock.

Relating toolbox talks to life outside of the workplace also encourages employees to think about safe behavior in a broader context. It allows them to recognize that safety isn’t only a workplace issue and can lead to them driving safer at all times.

A successful toolbox talk motivates people into awareness and does so by being short and specific without being too clinical. Choose to discuss something relevant or share a story that will resonate.  After all, you want your drivers to have the talk in the back of their minds as they go off to start their shifts. That way, they will be more likely to apply the concepts discussed in the talk and the chances of their involvement in a driving incident will go down.