W6: Better Safety Toolbox Talks and Risk Assessments
How do we ensure that safety toolbox talks (TBTs) and mini-risk assessments are not boring and ineffective?
Safety toolbox talks alert people to the hazards involved in the job they are about to do.
However, if the same people do the TBTs and we are doing the same job over say several weeks, it’s understandable that some people may become blasé. We can say the same about the mini-risk assessments people should do as part of the TBT.
The best way to use Toolbox Talks
The best way to re-energise the TBTs is to hold several short (60-90 minute) sessions with up to 15 people in each. Hold it as an open informal discussion on “How to improve our TBTs”. Have a facilitator who can get people talking and coax out the real issues and record possible action steps.
You may be surprised at what comes out – usually, there are one or two issues we didn’t know about!
The result is to prepare a draft policy/procedure on “How we do out TBTs at ABC”.
Here are some of the general guidelines we try and incorporate (after the sessions are completed). The list isn’t complete but it’s a start.
How to hold an effective safety toolbox talk
- Involve everyone who will be involved in the job
- If the job starts and someone new joins you must hold a toolbox talk again.
- Ask someone to outline the job that must be done and the different responsibilities of each person.
- Tell another person what the main hazards are – what can hurt us and what we have already decided to do to avoid these.
- Ask people if they can think of anything else that will hurt us and what else good go wrong.
- Encourage people to discuss when they know the job will be complete and what could hurt us after the job is complete.
- Supervisors must encourage other people to do the thinking and talking.
- No one should mock any question
- No one should show impatience if someone is struggling to understand what is required.
- Supervisors should reinforce the message every day – if you see anything you don’t like or you feel things are getting out of control STOP – there is no problem with stopping.
Let’s have a brief discussion on how we can help enhance the effectiveness of the TBTs at your site – no obligation whatsoever. +44 773 857 1945