Toolbox Talk vs. Safety Meeting

Complacency at work leads to injuries.  Employees must keep in mind at all times their safety and the safety of others.  There are a variety of ways companies can work to keep safety at the forefront.  Commonly used platforms for reminding employees about the risks involved with their work include toolbox talks and safety meetings.  What is the difference between toolbox talks and full safety meetings?

Toolbox Talks

Toolbox talks may also be called tailgate meetings.  These are generally given right before the work is to begin.  They are a reminder of the risks involved and what needs to be done to mitigate those risks.  Once employees are prepared to start a task, everyone reviews the toolbox talk information and signs an acknowledgment form.  This quick meeting helps to keep safety and the risks involved always in mind.

Safety Meetings

Safety meetings may be conducted in a variety of ways.  Overall, they are more detailed and take more time than a toolbox talk.  They are conducted during the planning phase of the work in addition to while the work is being done.  Safety meetings break down the risks involved in the particular task, the controls in place to mitigate the risks, and the calculated risk after mitigation.  If the risks can’t be reduced to perform the work safely, the work should not commence until determined it is safe to do so.

One of the major aspects of a safety meeting is the involvement of the employees who will do the work.  They have the best understanding of the work to be done and the most to lose in regard to injuries.  Their input is paramount and must always be considered.

Additionally, safety meetings are a way to ensure employees thoroughly understand the project.  They give input on which risks are tolerable and which must be reduced.

Whether you are conducting brief toolbox talks or full safety meetings, the safety of employees must be a top priority.

author avatar
Amber Hebert

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