Maintaining an injury prevention culture requires many components, and safety communication is fundamental to that goal. Safety communication can be implemented in a number of ways, including warning labels, safety training and meetings, hazard alerts, and informal, routine communications among supervisors, workers, and co-workers. In OR-FACE’s experience, increasing the level of interaction between supervisors and workers can have a positive influence on safe behaviors. Further, when the interaction is based on actual, relatable events, that impact can be significant. Toolbox talks are brief discussions typically facilitated by team leaders (e.g. crew supervisors). They provide a practical tool for engaging workers and employers in discussion about ways to improve safety practices, sharing experiences, promoting safety awareness, and ultimately, influence safe behaviors.
OR-FACE creates toolbox talks that are formatted using evidence-based safety communication principles and are based on real-world fatal events that occurred in Oregon. The guide’s front side includes a simple line drawing that can be seen from a distance by the group participating in the safety meeting. Under the drawing are bulleted key actions and recommendations for preventing a similar accident. The back side includes a narrative of the incident for the supervisor to read, along with bulleted prevention recommendations, and a list of questions intended to spark discussion about current practices, unsafe conditions, and an action plan for making improvements. OR-FACE routinely receives positive feedback on the utility of these guides and they are one of the most popular resources accessed on the OR-FACE website.
OR-FACE recently published two new toolbox talk guides, one for the construction industry and for logging/forestry. You can find all of OR-FACE’s toolbox talk guides here, including six that are translated into Spanish.
Submitted by Barb Epstien, OR-FACE