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Do your toolbox meetings feel like a drag? Are people just ticking a box? If so, you’re probably seeing a ripple effect throughout your business. “Nah I’ve got to go to toolbox” I hear sighed in the corridor.
What a shame…such a missed opportunity. Effective Toolbox Talks are critical for promoting health and safety within your organisation… and it doesn’t need to be a chore.
What if you presented vibrant meetings? Your team would feel engaged, they would look forward to toolbox and find it valuable, your attendance would increase, and your critical safety messages will be easily understood and retained.
Here are some tips on delivering efficient, effective and engaging Toolbox Talks that will keep your team safe.
1. Use visual prompts such as image and video
It’s about effective communication and that your team actually understand the message. When I need to learn how to do something, I look it up on Youtube and find I understand it much quicker and easier. Safety is no different. Imagery is such a powerful way to get your important safety message across. Prepare for your meeting with images and video to use on the TV or projector. MS PowerPoint slides are great for presenting Toolbox Talks, it provides visual prompts to convey your safety message, you just click the “Next” button.
2. Team Engagement
This is a flow on effect from point 1. I’m sure you’ve all been to boring Toolbox Talks? Someone is up the front reading from a piece of paper in a monotone voice. It’s easy to feel like you’re just ticking a box and get distracted, unfortunately this also means you stop absorbing the critical messages. Your team are more likely to absorb the safety message when they’re in an engaging interactive Toolbox Talk. Using bullet points for discussion, images and videos ensures you’re not simply reading from a script with no expression. Know your content so you can look your team in the eye, this interaction will further promote engagement. It’s hard for your team to stare off into the distance and mentally drift away when they’re being eye balled by someone.
3. Promote Interaction
Also, a flow on from the above. When you’re directly engaged with your team their more likely to engage back. Encourage and foster that interaction, if a team member is not sure of something it’s highly likely others are also. Start your Toolbox Talks by saying: “Guys, as always this is a casual meeting to enhance your understanding on key safety issues, if you’re not sure of a topic or have any questions please speak up at any time”. Another positive result of this is that your team don’t feel like they’re being dictated to, they realise the meeting is about their welfare and that of those around them.
4. Allow for different personality types
The simple fact is not everyone has the confidence or personality to speak up and raise issues in a crowd. It is fair enough, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a voice. You can have an email inbox setup that users can send issues to at any time. Some may wish to remain anonymous, to cater for these resources why not have an “Issues Box”? This allows your team to make positive suggestions or concerns in confidence.
5. Registering attendance
Handwriting your name on an attendance sheet is too manual. If you are accurately recording your toolbox talks that results in someone re-typing those names into a register to determine who attended.
Why not try electronic attendance? Have a spreadsheet with expected attendees on your PC or mobile device and check users off as they walk in. Once you are done “Save As” with the date then file it or send it to head office. It’s a bit more COVID friendly also. If electronic is not possible, you can have a printout of the spreadsheet with attendees, tick them off and go back to the electronic version and manage the exceptions.
Using a digital platform to conduct your toolbox talks and track attendance is the best way to nail all five of these important points. With Lightspace, we’re helping safety-focused businesses transform toolbox talks from pure box-ticking into one of their most valuable business functions.
For example, a large transport organization using Lightspace saw a 32% increase in toolbox attendance over a year. And they no longer hear that grumbling in the corridors – evidence suggests that the talks are now more enjoyable and much more engaging, and the information is really sinking in.
To chat about how you can have better toolbox talks, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org