Instead of sending employees on long training courses for every subject under the sun, there’s a new approach to safety training spreading through companies across the world. Toolbox talks.

While toolbox talks aren’t designed to replace formal health and safety training, they make an excellent addition to any ongoing training schedule.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First of all, what is a toolbox talk?

A toolbox talk is a short, informal discussion that focuses on one particular safety issue.

Because toolbox talks are so short — they’re usually around the five to ten-minute mark — businesses can squeeze them into super busy schedules on a regular basis. This means your employees are talking and thinking about safety much more than usual, which ultimately results in a safer workplace for everyone.

In this blog, we’re talking a closer look at toolbox talks and finding out why they’ve got the safety training industry buzzing.


What’s the point?

Traditionally, when businesses require training, they call a company like Safety Training Scotland and arrange for one or two employees to attend a specialised course like a REHIS food hygiene course.

After a few days training later, the trainees head back to work with their heads chock full of new knowledge.

This type of training is great for building a strong foundation and gives trainees a fantastic core of knowledge.

However, there are some drawbacks.

It’s fairly expensive, it means only some employees directly receive the training, it limits the training to a couple of days and with such intense courses, trainees can often switch off mentally.

Toolbox talks can solve a load of those drawbacks. Unlike traditional training which takes place in concentrated courses, toolbox talks are split up and scattered throughout the year, encouraging people to think about safety issues at all times.

Instead of having a couple of days totally dedicated to safety, you have a series of quick five-minute briefings in the morning.

It doesn’t sound like a lot but that regular five-minute reminder keeps safety in the front of your mind and, ultimately, makes your workplace a lot safer.

It’s also a way of engaging your entire workforce. Instead of sending one of two people on a course, everyone gets involved!

Now, we should point out that a toolbox talk is not a substitute for dedicated safety training. They are brilliant for topping up safety knowledge but don’t have the in-depth training that dedicated courses have.


What should I include?

A good toolbox talk is one that actively engages your audience and engages them with potential risks. While much of effectiveness is down to the presenter, we’ve come up with some tips to help you make an impression.

Schedule your talk at the start of the work day

Give your talks on-site

Keep your talk below 10-15 minutes

Discuss the context for the new talk

Discuss the safety issues for the new context

Encourage contribution from employees

Even if you don’t have the most trainer-ready personality, the length of a toolbox talk should keep your audience engaged enough to take in all the info.

If you need any advice, just give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.


Want to know more?

Over the next few months, we’re planning on putting together a toolbox talk eBook packed full of content so you can run your own talks. Check back soon to download your free copy!