Toolbox Talks

Toolbox talks are a way to ensure all workers are participating in safety activities, and have an opportunity to discuss hazards/controls, incidents and accidents.

As part of the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers must provide employees the opportunity to regularly engage in health and safety discussions.

If you are a Site Safe Member, you can access Site Safe Toolbox Talks to help guide you through relevant and beneficial health and safety discussions. Sign in to the members area to gain access to your members only Toolbox Talks. There's a wide range of topics to choose from so you can tailor these discussions specifically to your project.

How to run a toolbox talk

1.    Schedule the meeting

Let the team know where and when the meeting is. At the start of the day works best with most workplaces.

2.    Set the scene for the meeting ­—  keep it real and be positive

Encourage everyone to join in and provide their own feedback, knowledge and experiences. Use simple language for everyone to understand to convey the key health and safety messages.

Toolbox meetings are an opportunity to provide positive feedback for safe actions, hard work and initiatives. It’s also important to avoid criticism and acknowledge everyone for their contributions. The meeting shouldn’t be a lecture, but a chance for engagement with the team.

Ensure that running and attending toolbox safety meetings is recognised as an important part of a person’s role. If the worker regards health and safety as an add-on, it will often be neglected.

3.    Follow an agenda

Follow an agenda to make sure you cover everything off:

  • Inform workers of changes to company procedures
  • Identify new hazards and review existing hazards
  • Develop/review hazard controls
  • Discuss/review accident and incident data
  • Discuss the work programme for the day/week ahead
  • Have company leaders talk about the business direction or a particular topic
  • Discuss any new equipment on site
  • Provide a short training session (Site Safe provides exclusive toolbox talk topics to its members for upskilling and informing workers).

4.    Close the meeting

Thank the team for their time and let them get to work.

5.    Record meeting notes

Details of meetings should be recorded and kept on file. Record meeting dates, attendees and discussion items. Show follow-up items from previous hazards, accidents and incidents.

Topics to discuss

Discussion points at safety meetings should be topical and relevant to current or upcoming activities in the workplace. Topical items for discussion can be identified by asking workers for input, changes in the plant or work process or work environment, or in response to accidents/incidents in the workplace.

Listed below are some suggested topics for discussion:

  • What items would workers like to discuss?
  • Introduction of new plant or processes
  • Development of task analysis or methodologies
  • Changes in season e.g. sun smart, dehydration
  • Use of plant
  • Handling of materials
  • Identifying training requirements.

Site Safe Members can access toolbox talk material to help guide you through relevant and beneficial health and safety discussions. You can access these via the 'My Site Safe' tab.

Free toolbox meeting minute template

The Site Safe Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP) includes a free to download 'Site briefing/toolbox meeting minutes' template. This template includes all the things you need to cover off in a Toolbox meeting.

Site Safe members gain access to a huge library of Toolbox Talk topics - including Asbestos, Electrical Safety, Excavations, Public Safety, Welding and much more.