But that’s where short workplace safety topics come into play. With the right resources, they can be conducted several times throughout the week and last about 10-15 minutes. That’s enough to keep safety knowledge fresh on everyone’s mind and build the foundation of a strong health and safety culture. A culture in which your entire workforce is engaged and invested.
All great except… There is one challenge here. Quick safety talks can actually be more work because of the limited time. As Mark Twain famously said,
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
So, how do you make a short safety talk count?
The Short Safety Talks Secret: How to Effectively Communicate Workplace Safety Practices In Minutes
Good news! With the abundance of short safety topics that the Internet has to offer, you have just about enough resources to make even a 2-minute safety talk effective.
But before we get to the downloadable toolbox talk templates, here are a few tips on communicating safety best practices:
Tell a story. According to cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, we are 22 times more likely to remember facts when they are presented through a story. Another study suggests that “telling stories when communicating can make the speaker appear more warm and trustworthy, as opposed to speaking some other way, such as providing only statistics and figures”.
Stay focused on your topic. Yes, there are probably dozens of related things that you want to say. And they all seem important. But, if you want your safety talk to stick, you have to remain laser-focused on one specific topic.
5-10 slides max. You’ll probably want to keep a slide for about a minute. Keeping slide count smaller enables you to keep your toolbox talk short, too.
100+ Short Safety Talks For Work [A-Z index]
Ready to transform your workplace’s attitude towards health and safety? It’s easy to stay consistent with your safety talks when you have a reliable backlog of quick safety topics for you to choose from.
We’ve done the homework for you. Here are 100+ short safety talks, ready for when your next safety moment takes place. Hopefully, these will help keep your idea bank full for the foreseeable.
Guidance documents that provide detailed examinations of specific safety and health issues;
Online Safety and Health Topics pages;
Small, laminated QuickCards™ that provide brief safety and health information; and
QuickTakes, OSHA’s free, twice-monthly online newsletter with the latest news about OSHA initiatives and products to assist employers and workers in finding and preventing workplace hazards.
Coronavirus Toolbox Talks and Safety Moments
Given the current situation, it’s important to cover this particular safety topic in a bit more detail. Besides, speaking to your workforce about the risks presented by COVID-19, and how you can mitigate them, is a great topic for a quick, 5-minute safety topic.
Here are some of the points you can cover within this particular topic:
The importance of wearing a mask
The main COVID-19 symptoms
What to do if you show any COVID-19 symptoms
How often you should use hand sanitizer
The best way to wash your hands
Understanding the risks (including any key risks for your particular type of work)
The current situation in the USA (legislation, statistics and changes)
Examples of small changes that you can make to ensure your work practice is as safe as possible
You can pick and choose from any of these topics and adapt your safety discussions accordingly to best suit your workforce. As you can see, short safety talks are ideal for covering a health and safety concern of this kind in a way that is efficient, informative and as useful as possible for your workforce.
How Should You Document Safety Toolbox Topics?
Different document types have their own strengths and weaknesses. So, it’s worth considering what would be the right format to deliver your chosen topic.
In the table below, we’ve listed the document types that you can typically use, alongside their plus points and drawbacks.
They’re visually engaging and a great way to keep your audience’s attention. They also help you to structure your talk and stick to the key topics that you need to cover.
Presentations take the most time to create. Plus, multitasking and clicking through the slides can be a little bit fiddly. If it’s only a quick one minute talk, the effort of setting up a PowerPoint is probably not necessary.
Instead of spending time designing your slides, you can simply write down the most important takeaways in a text document and save it as a PDF.Once the talk has finished, you can distribute the document amongst your team for them to refer back to later.
Make sure that the time and effort that goes into making this document is worthwhile. If you think your team members are likely to dump it straight into the recycling bin, redirect your efforts elsewhere.
Speech (without visual aids)
This is the most fluid option. It allows you to engage with your audience and encourage their participation. It’s also a great way to sincerely express the importance of the topic you are covering.
If you’re not able to go ad-lib confidently, visual aids to guide your talk are a very useful crutch. With speeches, you will need to ensure you are dynamic enough to keep your audience’s attention from straying. Plus, you will need to be strict with yourself to stay on topic!
This makes it really easy to prepare a talk because there is lots of quality content on YouTube that you can use. It’s an effortless way to make the talk engaging and keep your audience’s attention. Perfect for a quick, yet effective safety talk.
Inflexibility. The content can’t be adapted to suit your workforce and your unique situation. This also has the downside of looking like an impersonal choice since you didn’t create the content yourself.
How Often Should You Conduct Safety Talks?
In an ideal world, safety talks should take place daily. But this may be an unrealistic goal due to a Safety manager’s ever-increasing responsibilities. So, a good aim would be 3-5 short workplace safety topics a week. If your team is going through a busy period, you can also decide cut down the time that these talks last for. You can always find the time for a super quick 1-minute safety topic.
Where Should Safety Talks Be Conducted?
You should base these safety minutes in a place where everyone feels at-ease, while still firmly focused on what you’re saying. With this in mind, you could choose to have your next safety talk take place in a comfortable meeting room, a break room, or even the work area itself.
You don’t need to have a fixed location for these talks, either. The aim is to make them feel more informal and personal than a typical meeting. You can pick the location with the topic in mind. For example, if you’re talking about food allergies, the break room would make the message of your talk directly applicable to the day-to-day activities of your workers.
What Else Can You Do to Have a Better Safety Meeting?
Getting workers to listen for the entire duration of the talk is a challenge in itself. Not to mention getting them to actively relate to and understand the topic and then being able to apply the message to their own workplace behaviors.
To make your talk more engaging, try to interact with your audience directly. Encourage their participation, questions and feedback. Show them that this is not a lecture; it is a dynamic conversation that is taking place between the team as a whole. This way, you are helping to create a team that places the highest importance on keeping their operations as safe as possible.
Who Should Present a Safety Talk?
Normally, this would be the job of the team’s EHS manager. The presenter should be the individual who reports any incidents to OSHA. This way, it is the team member who is most well-versed in these topics who is delivering the content.
Does OSHA Require Toolbox Talks?
No. These talks are not a legal requirement of OSHA. The agency does not have a fixed standard in which safety training information needs to be communicated to a workforce. However, toolbox talks are a highly recommended way to advance your workplace’s health and safety beyond the bare minimum. Plus, the flexibility of these talks allows you to branch out beyond the topics that OSHA requires you to cover.
By incorporating regular safety talks into your workplace routines, you are putting your workforce in the best position to minimize preventable workplace accidents. Dedicating just a couple of minutes each day to a short safety moment will ensure maximum engagement in the topics being covered.
Also, these short safety topics for work help your team’s attitude towards health and safety and help improve your safety culture overall. This is far more intuitive and considerate than what could be achieved by a long meeting spent reading from a binder.
Additional Safety Moment Resources
If you’re keen to upgrade your workplace safety and the way that your team members discuss their practices, you can find more great resources below.