Toolbox talks

A group talking over the key points involved in a job before it begins can bring huge benefits, from avoidance of accidents, disruptions and delays, to improving working methods and using equipment more effectively.

To maximise their effectiveness, toolbox talks should be organised around four basic requirements – timing, attendance, observation and knowledge – which this video considers in turn. It sets out when a toolbox talk should be held: before the work, to ensure that everyone involved is focused on achieving the task safely; following any significant change in plan; and also on a regular basis, for example at shift change. It also identifies that in some circumstances personnel other than those directly involved in the task may also take part, e.g. client representatives, health and safety representatives or line managers, with the emphasis on toolbox talks being relevant, brief and focused on the task ahead.

While there is no limit to the topics that might be covered in a series of talks, in most cases they take a detailed look at tasks to be undertaken by the team members attending. It is important the supervisors are satisfied that all team members understand what is happening and there is no better way to do this than by discussing issues directly with them, addressing any concerns before they lead to real difficulties.