Are toolbox safety talks required? How to run a successful one
Businesses are legally required to ensure the health and safety of their workers, and toolbox safety talks are a popular and proven step in helping fulfil that requirement.
They provide an excellent forum for employers to fulfil their legal obligation of consulting with workers around situations which may affect their health and safety, according to SafeWork NSW.
They also provide workers with the opportunity to express their views, encourage safety hazard reporting and enable workers to contribute to any decisions relating to their health and safety – all critical OHS functions.
In fact, as an employer, you must consult workers on OHS matters such as:
- Identifying hazards and assessing risks
- Making decisions about hazard control measures
- Changing or updating workplace facilities
- Proposing changes which may affect the health and safety of workers
- Making decisions about consulting procedures, resolving safety issues, monitoring workers’ health and conditions, and providing information and training
You must also consult with anyone who has a duty in relation to the same matter(s).
Employer OHS consultation must be regular and ongoing and toolbox safety talks are an excellent way to fulfil this obligation.
How to carry out a successful toolbox talk:
Regular, short (5-10 minute) toolbox safety talks can be conducted before the start of a work shift, during a break or at another time, according to the WA Government.
Topics might cover safety procedures for specific jobs or tasks, PPE usage requirements and instructions, changes in job procedures, rules or regulations and any other relevant information. Ensure clear and specific information is delivered to workers.
Some suggestions for successful sessions include:
- Plan the meeting and inform participants in advance
- Prepare supporting materials or sources for the sessions
- Make attendance compulsory
- Keep records and have participants sign a log for each session. Consider using this template.
- Ask for ideas and feedback from participants
- Encourage participation and feedback
How Paramount Safety can support your Toolbox Talk Program:
Paramount Safety – the company behind Pro Safety Gear, LINQ Height Safety, Pratt Environmental Safety and THORZT Hydration and Heat Stress solutions regularly deliver high-risk industries with a range of toolbox talks tailored to the safety solutions they provide.
The company’s Product Development Manager, Brad Rodgers, says the group has a number of prepared toolbox talks covering topics on eyes, ears, respiratory protection, height safety and more (see below).
However, toolbox talks cannot be generic and must be specific to a site’s requirements.
“We work with sites to understand their unique challenges or risks and then refine or develop one of our toolboxes specifically for that site.”
“It might be generic to start with but as you understand a site you can zero in on its challenges,” Brad says, adding that currently, silica and silicosis education in construction is important.
“For example, a lot of guys on site are wearing masks but they also have a beard. Our toolbox covers facial fit and the importance of a good seal and will demonstrate that if you are not clean shaven then you are not adequately protected.”
Request a Paramount Safety Toolbox Talk:
There is no charge for Paramount’s safety toolbox talks and they are not exclusive to Paramount customers. If you’re interested in improving safety systems in your workplace, contact us in the form below to request further information. Conditions apply.
“Our toolboxes are delivered by expert staff and category managers in metro and regional areas. We will come out and work with your management, safety officers and employees to help you ensure the correct safety systems,” Brad says.
Some of Paramount’s Toolbox Talk Offerings:
ProChoice Safety Gear:
- Eye protection
- Ear protection
- Head protection
- Hand protection
- Respiratory protection
- Sun protection
LINQ Height Safety:
- Working safely at heights
- Suspension trauma
- Tool lanyards
- Harness fit and use
- Managing and minimising dehydration
- Heat stress management
- Dangerous goods storage
- Spill containment
- Chemicals first aid