We highlight nine of the most important construction toolbox talks for construction companies to tackle in 2022 and beyond.
When it comes to construction, toolbox talks are an invaluable part of making sure everybody stays safe.
While it’s vital to be productive and perform quality work, the first goal for construction managers, leaders, and employees should be to avoid accidents and injuries. Thus, safety toolbox talks should be a regular occurrence and cover a wide variety of topics.
They are so effective that a study found that companies who hold daily safety toolbox talks reduce their Total Recordable Incident Rate by 85%.
And it makes sense, if you emphasize presenting safety rules and expectations to your workers every morning, they’ll understand the importance of putting safety first and will be more likely to form safety habits that make a lasting impact.
The best way to integrate such a culture is to use a digital tool, like the Connecteam construction app. After all, all your crew members are walking around with their mobile phones in their back pockets, instead of scheduling everyone to meet at the same place at the same time, reach them where they are! The app allows you to engage in construction safety meetings in real-time.
Below we cover construction safety topics and will include real examples of how to apply this to your Connecteam construction app.
But what construction safety topics should be a priority? It’s not always easy to cover everything. Ultimately, construction toolbox talks will depend on the needs of the individual company. However, based on where the industry is heading in 2022 and beyond, here are some of the most important construction toolbox talks for construction companies to tackle.
In construction, there is perhaps nothing more important than workers wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE).
So, as far as the most important construction safety topics go, PPE is at the very top of the list.
On some occasions, following the right safety protocols doesn’t mean anything if employees aren’t wearing the right protective equipment.
At the same time, wearing the right PPE can help mitigate the damage done if there is an accident. It’s up to every employer to provide the right PPE for workers based on the tasks they’re performing.
But management also has to provide instructions on how to wear PPE and when certain forms of PPE need to be worn. These are details that should never be overlooked. Frequent construction toolbox talks are necessary to ensure that construction workers know the what, when, where, how, and why of PPE. Mark this in your to-do list for your next construction safety meeting topic.
CONNECTEAM TIP: Create a digital checklist, form, or report directly on the app that contains all of the equipment the employee needs for PPE. No more binders or scribbles on a piece of paper, and forget the never-ending chat threads. With the digital checklist – that is available right on the app – employees will go through the checklist, are asked to sign at the end to ensure they are 100% protected and haven’t forgotten anything – giving you peace of mind and ensuring compliance all-around.
You can even ask your team to take a selfie when they’re wearing PPE to share with you via the submitted checklist or a company group chat right on the app.
Hazard Identification and Communication
It will always be essential for construction workers to understand the hazards that exist in every workplace. This is a common construction safety topic.
Every time that workers step foot on a new construction site, there should be a safety meeting to discuss the hazards that exist and what can be done to mitigate any danger that is presented. If new hazards or new ways of mitigating those hazards are discovered, there should be a toolbox talk to make everybody up to date with what they need to know.
Construction toolbox talks should also encourage workers to come forward with hazards they’ve discovered or close calls they had while working so that everybody can know about every hazardous situation and learn from any near misses that occurred on the construction site.
CONNECTEAM TIP: Remember those digital forms? Yeah, you can create one just for hazards.
Create a digital form directly on the app (known as a read and sign form) so your team-lead or supervisor can directly type in what hazards are identified and even take pictures. Then each worker can add their name and signature so you get one form automatically sent to you once a day with all hazards and everyone’s names and signatures.
How to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
At virtually every workplace, slips, trips, and falls are the most common form of accident and injury.
It’s no different at a construction site, which is why there should be construction toolbox talks to remind workers to be careful of these common occurrences in a construction safety meeting topic.
Most of the time, slips and falls occur because somebody was careless or distracted while walking.
On construction sites, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and aware of one’s surroundings, more so than at other workplaces. Not only are safety meetings on construction sites needed to remind workers to be careful, but you can also share information about what surfaces might be slippery, what type of footwear is best to wear, and other tips that can help prevent careless slips, trips, and falls.
CONNECTEAM TIP: Connecteam also allows construction company managers to easily create a digital library that can be accessed by your staff directly on their mobile phones. You just simply upload all of the necessary materials so that everyone can read through them and make sure they are protected. (There are even some templates Connecteam created that you can edit to your company’s needs for employees to go over).
It’s almost inevitable for construction workers to work above the ground, making fall protection vital to safety on construction sites. When it comes to fall protection, there is no detail too small to cover with employees. Ensure this is covered in your construction safety topics.
This is why fall protection warrants dedicated safety meetings. These construction toolbox talks should discuss ladder safety, proper PPE, and safety measures that must be followed whenever employees are working at heights. It’s natural for people to be a little nervous or uneasy when working high above the ground, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience doing it.
But if construction company leaders go over everything that workers need to know about fall protection, it can put everyone at ease that there won’t be any mishaps when people are working at heights.
CONNECTEAM TIP: Remember the digital library from the last point? Include falls in there too! Along with other safety tips and policies. Then, once in a while, you can send a group chat message (open a safety-specific chat group) that includes a shortcut to that specific knowledge base. (Your desktop dashboard will show you who read the message and who didn’t, send an automated push notification to anyone who didn’t open and read the message so you can be sure everyone is aligned across the company.)
Among the many construction safety topics, falling objects are among the most common, and unfortunately, one of the most overlooked when it comes to discussing safety. Construction sites are full of falling objects, not to mention swinging objects, rolling objects, and flying objects.
In short, there are a lot of objects that aren’t always being controlled, which is why this is one of the most common causes of injuries on construction sites. For every new construction site, a safety meeting should be held to discuss the specific objects that could be swinging, falling, or rolling at any given moment so that workers can be on the lookout for them. Sometimes just knowing the hazards that exist in your construction safety topic can help keep workers safe and protected.
CONNECTEAM TIP: Share an update via the social feed, a part of our communication feature offered on Connecteam for no extra cost whatsoever, with a video attached for everyone to watch to remind them of what to do to protect themselves from falls and falling objects. Employees immediately receive a push notification letting them know they have an update to read on the app – saving you the back and forth hassle.
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Lifting, Carrying, and Handling Objects
If it’s not a falling object or a careless fall, most construction injuries are back injuries – caused by trying to lift or carry heavy objects. Of course, most construction workers are strong and capable of lifting and carrying heavy objects.
It may seem like an obscure construction safety topic, but your crew still needs to understand the proper way to lift items in an ergonomically sound way to reduce the risk of back and musculoskeletal injuries.
It never hurts to have construction toolbox talks that focus on proper lifting techniques and when it makes sense to use multiple people or machinery to lift and carry items.
The longer employees go without being reminded about proper technique, the more likely they are to get lazy with their methods and rely only on their strength to lift items.
By holding frequent safety talks about proper lifting techniques, employees will always be aware of the right way to handle heavy objects.
Even if electrical mishaps don’t occur that regularly on construction sites, this is such a serious hazard that it warrants frequent construction toolbox talks and is a must when it comes to construction safety topics.
At a minimum, construction workers should have a yearly safety meeting that covers electrical hazards. Construction workers need to know how to detect damaged or exposed wires and understand what can go wrong if they come into contact with live electrical equipment. This is one of the few occasions when striking a little fear into workers can be a good thing because there are serious consequences if there is an accident involving electricity on a construction site. Make note of it in your upcoming construction safety meeting topics.
First-Aid and Emergency Protocols
Obviously, the point of construction toolbox talks is to prevent accidents and injuries from happening in the first place. But it never hurts to give employees a refresher on how to respond just in case there is an injury or some kind of emergency. Therefore, construction companies should give every employee basic first-aid training to ensure that there is always someone nearby who can perform first-aid if someone gets hurt.
There are a variety of injuries that are common on construction sites, including broken bones, burns, abrasions, and heat stress that require some form of first aid while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
Even if the odds of something serious happening are slim, it’s always best for workers to be instructed on how to respond to an emergency.
CONNECTEAM TIP: Easily distribute read and sign forms, which only take a few minutes to create on Connecteam – either start a form from scratch or use an existing template. Through the dashboard, track who submitted a form and send reminders to anyone who has yet to do so. Send weekly or monthly reminders for re-training purposes and even add images, videos, or PDFs for added learning.
Open Forum for Concerns and Suggestions
Last but not least, companies should hold construction toolbox talks that are essentially open forums for employees to bring up topics they want to discuss. The more a construction company can get workers engaged in safety protocols, the safer everyone will be.
Allow employees to voice safety concerns or offer solutions on how safety can be improved.
Construction workers are the ones on the frontlines who might be putting their safety at risk every day, so they should have a good understanding of how safety can be improved. Give them an opportunity to take charge during a toolbox talk and discuss what they feel is important. This can also be a good time to get their feedback on any potential changes that are being considered because that feedback can be invaluable before any safety changes are made.
CONNECTEAM TIP: Connecteam offers another communication and engagement feature, a virtual suggestion box! So that way you can allow your crew to drop in their thoughts and suggestions whenever the thought strikes, and act on the feedback received.
Frequently Asked Questions On Construction Toolbox Talks
How often should construction toolbox talks be held?
Construction toolbox talks must be run frequently, ideally, once a day, at the start of the day. But if once a day isn’t possible for your business, then once a week is also good for scheduling. Generally, this frequency ensures the talks are effective.
How long should safety toolbox talks last?
Safety toolbox talks should typically run for 10 to 15 minutes. They could be longer, but the aim is to keep them brief.
How to track and record construction toolbox talks?
Your safety toolbox talks should be documented in detail. Use sign-in sheets and include the date, time, attendance, topic, discussion notes, questions, and anything else that may have arisen.
Who should run construction toolbox talks?
The most senior or experienced team members should lead the construction toolbox talks at your upcoming construction safety meeting topic.
How are construction toolbox talks carried out?
Using presentations, videos, demonstrations. In short, using any method that is engaging and helps convey information clearly and rapidly.
How many topics should be covered in a single construction toolbox talk?
Each construction safety meeting topic should cover a single topic at your next. Remember, they are short sessions, so you don’t have long to convey all the information.
Don’t forget about safety products as a construction safety meeting topic either.
Where can I store the construction toolbox talk for reference?
Typically most construction teams rely on the Connecteam all-in-one construction app to ensure direct access to construction safety topics at any time.
One of the best features of this is the knowledge center and library. Simply upload a video recording or chapters to read and encourage your crew to review this frequently to ensure your construction toolbox talk is fresh in their minds.
You can even issue a quiz to ensure they understand the material covered in the construction safety meeting topic.
Wrapping Up Construction Toolbox Talks
We recommend keeping an eye on OSHA’s toolbox talks for your next construction toolbox talk or if you need some ideas on construction safety meeting topics.
Remember that construction toolbox talks are all about building a safety culture. So the more often you embed construction toolbox talks, the better your workplace and employee safety will be.
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