Tips: Tool Box Talks

Our Safety Tip of the Week (April 21, 2008, e-news) is courtesy Edward Weber, Carpenter Steward.

As a Carpenter Steward I witness how Tool Box Talks (TBT) is conducted. They range from the foreman talking to the workers about safety, to “just sign this, and get back to work.” I then ask the foreman if I can conduct the TBT. The sense I get from the workers while reading the TBT is, “safety, yeah we already know this, can we get back to work?"

Q. Are they going to act or think safety when they get back to work after the TBT?

A. Maybe, a little.

Q How can we get the worker to think, and be more safety minded?

A. By getting the workers more involved in the TBT.

We talk safety at the workers all the time, show them safety videos, put up safety notices, but we don’t get them involved.

When you give a TBT, ask the workers:

  • How can this tool hurt you?”, and
  • How could you prevent it from happening?"

Seek a response. Now everyone is thinking about a response, because they are thinking to themselves, “will he ask me?"

For example: at the end of a TBT about circular saws, ask one of the workers “When you pick up a circular saw to use it, how can the saw hurt you, or a co-worker?" They are now thinking to themselves of a circular saw binding up and coming back at them, getting a finger cut off. They are now realizing "something bad can happen if I use it wrong or in an unsafe manner." After the response, ask another worker, “How could this have been prevented?" Now they are thinking of the proper ways to use the saw.

After all the responses, you need to restate the positive. “Before you use the saw, for two seconds, think to yourself, 'how can this saw hurt me?' Your mind will help you to work safer."

This way of presenting a TBT should work on any topic.

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