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Taking Toolbox Meetings Seriously

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 5-Jan-2015

Worker safety is of paramount importance in any workplace. In dangerous industries such as construction, manufacturing, and drilling, communicating updated information and potential problems is key for preventing accidents. To promote good communication, toolbox meetings are used on a regular basis to keep workers informed of the risks associated with their tasks.

Certain positions, such as welders, painters, or engineers can discuss specific challenges that they face and risks to keep in mind, or an entire crew working on a site or project can compare notes on the task at hand. These meetings are meant to be detailed and informative, rather than a hollow reminder of general safety. Worker safety is a serious concern, and taking the time to seriously address concerns or potential hazards is crucial to providing a safe work environment.

Tips to Execute an Effective Toolbox Meeting:

  • Be as brief as possible while still being adequately thorough
  • Prepare key points and topics beforehand
  • Make a list of items to discuss so nothing will be forgotten
  • Explain how the topic at hand will directly affect workers
  • Include visual aids such as charts, pictures, or videos
  • Ask for feedback and input from workers
  • Maintain a positive attitude and focus on safe practices rather than potential consequences
  • Some workers may not speak English as a first language, so clarify your points accordingly

Input from workers can be invaluable in noting potential dangers before injuries occur. Many experienced employees can spot problems that are developing or know what risks may exist at a worksite. With hours of hands-on experience, long-term employees may be able to see things that supervisors can't. Inviting feedback during a meeting both engages workers and opens up the potential for a flow of relevant information.

Meetings can also discuss any recent injuries in the workplace and how to prevent them in the future. The atmosphere can make workers feel more comfortable with reporting incidents, the information from which can be used to prevent other workers from receiving similar injuries.

While toolbox meetings are typically short, ranging from 5 to 15 minutes long, their impact should not be underestimated. If supervisors, managers, and other leaders use this opportunity to its full potential, they can establish these meetings as a respected time to share useful information, rather than a waste of workers' valuable time.

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