Improving Internal Communications Podcast
5 Tips for Health and Safety Toolbox Talks
1. Talk to Your Audience. Ensure the topic is relevant to your industry and job site.
You can also focus on the employees’ personal agenda — staying safe so they can attend their kid’s soccer game after work, participate in off-the-job hobbies and continue providing for their families.
Make sure the talk matters to employees both on and off the job. If workers don’t feel the topic applies directly to them, you will have a hard time keeping their interest.
2. Don’t Drag it Out
People have limited attention spans and they’ll eventually start tuning you out no matter how important the topic of your safety meeting is.
Make only the necessary points. If you have additional information, put in a handout and/or email then display and communicate it.
Or use it at a follow-up toolbox talk later on—periodically addressing the same topic while adding new and relevant context can help retention while keeping the subject interesting.
3. Search for the Positive too!
Incident investigations are a reactive approach to something negative happening in the workplace—and safety talks can be the exact opposite.
They’re an opportunity to proactively encourage safe behaviour and improve workplace safety before an incident takes place.
Keep the focus on what can be done to create a safe work environment instead of focusing on what has gone wrong in the past.
4. Relate it to Your Workplace
Nobody wants to feel like they’re at a safety lecture so try to make your talk interactive—when the audience is involved they are more likely to pay attention.
Demonstrations, discussions and hands-on examples are all effective ways to get people to participate—and it will help them retain more of the information too. This approach can also contribute to employees viewing their regular safety talks as something positive instead of something to endure.
5. Use Real Examples
People believe stats but they remember stories. Statistics are a great way to get a point across but the best way to convey a point is to tell a story.
Storytelling is a powerful method of conveying information and helping listeners identify with it and keep it top of mind—which is the goal of a toolbox talk.
But don’t forget that stories should follow the other guidelines above. Keep them brief, relevant and make sure they clearly demonstrate your point.
Once you’ve done that, you will be well on your way to reducing risk in the workplace.
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