Toolbox talks. Safety startups. Tailgate meetings. Whatever you call them, short discussions with workers about safety are really important. It can also be really challenging to deliver them effectively and consistently.
Fortunately, there’s a new free toolbox talk guide that aims to change that. It’s full of tips, guidelines and useful suggestions on how to improve toolbox talks and get more value from safety meetings.
The benefits of toolbox talks
Toolbox talks are one of the best methods of engaging workers in safety. When done properly, toolbox talks and other types of regular safety meetings can:
- promote safe working practices
- fight complacency
- solidify and sustain lessons from training
- increase employee engagement
- provide opportunities for feedback
They’re also a good way to temporarily heighten safety awareness and take the pulse of employees’ attitudes towards safety.
Overcoming obstacles to a good toolbox talk
Unfortunately, far too many toolbox talks don’t live up to their promise. Sometimes, the person delivering them isn’t a natural presenter. Or the toolbox talks are too long or come across as repetitive.
These are very real challenges that can get in the way of a good talk. In some cases, the problems with toolbox talks could be so profound that they may actually turn workers off safety and cause more issues than they fix.
If you want to deliver more captivating and effective toolbox talks then this guide is for you. It’s full of tips to improve toolbox talks, from how to quickly improve a presenter’s ability to connect with workers to the right combination of stories and statistics to maximize employee engagement.
The obstacles to facilitating an effective safety meeting are clear—and this guide outlines how to solve them. [Download it here to start delivering better toolbox talks.]
What’s in the guide?
The guide covers all the major areas of improvement for toolbox talks, starting with the supervisors and safety professionals who deliver them. It provides advice on how to:
- clarify the goals of the safety meeting
- anticipate problems and avoid things going off the rails
- get more from a little practice and preparation
- change the approach to better engage employees
But there’s more to creating and delivering a good toolbox talk than just becoming a better presenter. That’s why the guide also has tips on:
- telling stories for maximum impact
- building a SMART safety message (this isn’t the usual SMART goal stuff)
- testing toolbox talks to find out what’s working and what isn’t
- crafting a message that truly resonates with workers
The toolbox talk guide all provides advice on how to deal with human error, what topics to discuss when the usual ones become stale, and how to sift through and evaluate all the free toolbox talks floating around on the Internet (because there’s a lot of them out there).
It’s well worth reading (you can get it for free here) for anyone responsible for holding regular safety meetings.
And for safety directors and other leaders who oversee the frontline supervisors who give toolbox talks, it’s an invaluable resource to share. It’s an easy way to offer support for supervisors by providing them with a chance to develop their safety-related skills—not to mention the benefits to workplace safety and the positive impact an effective toolbox talk can have on individual employees.
One last note on improving toolbox talks
Meaningful change never happens overnight, and that’s just as true for toolbox talks and safety meetings as it is for anything else. The best way to upgrade toolbox talks at a company is to focus on improving one aspect at a time.
Read the guide straight through and then select one tip that feels manageable. Work on it for a month or two and once you’ve mastered it then pick another one. If you’re not responsible for delivering toolbox talks yourself then share the guide with the people who are. And don’t forget to provide support and encouragement to them—as the toolbox guide demonstrates, positivity is a major factor in developing new skills, increasing engagement and improving outcomes.