Toolbox talks with your team members are a great way to ensure that the whole team is on the same page about a project or safety issues involved on a site. They provide an avenue to give safety reminders to your team and set the stage for the culture of not only a project but the company as a whole.
Setting the agenda for a toolbox talk may seem straightforward. However, a little additional planning can go a long way. You can use the tips below to create your agenda and deliver a helpful toolbox talk.
- Find topics that are relevant to the project.
Having a general safety meeting is great, but it often isn’t helpful. Instead, you should make efforts to ensure that your toolbox talk is relevant to the project at hand.
Instead of just “going through the motions” because you have to, really think about the injuries or other issues that could come up on a project to create your agenda. Keeping the topics relevant will not only engage your team more but will also help avoid injuries that might actually happen on that project.
- Know your audience.
Every person receives and processes information a bit differently. Knowing and understanding your team will help you have a better talk because you will know how to present the information. For example, you might want to ask the following questions.
- Would a handout on this topic be helpful?
- Would examples be beneficial?
- Should I ask someone else to present the information to keep the meeting interesting?
- Should questions and clarifications be encouraged at the meeting or at a later time?
Speaking to your team in a method and language they will understand is absolutely vital for an effective toolbox meeting.
- Keep it brief.
Most people do not enjoy going to toolbox meetings, so keeping your agenda focused and straightforward will be very helpful. It will also help you get back to work faster—just be sure you are not keeping it so brief that it is ignored or ineffective.
Pick one or two major topics to hit and move on. Necessary information should be presented, and if there are specific details that you want to convey, you could use a handout or schedule a follow-up meeting.
- Consider using hands-on examples.
Many people learn better with demonstrations or hands-on lessons. As part of your agenda, consider incorporating a way for your team to try out a method or address a hypothetical situation. When you ask your team to think critically, it helps them remember the lessons in the future.
- Divide up topics by team.
Some teams do not need to know about certain aspects of the project or safety requirements. Consider dividing up your toolbox topics so that only the most relevant information is provided to a group of people. That can mean having separate meetings for certain people, or you could break out the large group into smaller activity groups to focus on specifics for their job.
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