Safety in a Toolbox - How to Increase Work Culture and Compliance

By Nathan Redelfs - Business Manager, Agent Clean Solutions

Running a business is often compared to a machine. It requires many parts working in tandem to find success. But having a successful business is also like cultivating a garden, especially when developing work culture or training employees.

What is work culture?

Work culture, simply put, is the culmination of ideas and values that make up your company, and how your employees feel about it. Seems vague? That’s because culture tends to be something inherent that we understand. When you think of American, what comes to mind? European culture? Mexican culture?

The same is true of work culture. It unifies your employees’ attitudes and motivation with your company’s goals, and develops unity and camaraderie amongst your team and helps eliminate toxic cliques and partiality.

Safety is also a top concern of successful businesses, especially those with employees. Every year, companies are sued by injured employees who claim negligence on the part of the employer for injuries sustained on the job. While not every instance can be covered, you can maintain safety training and documentation through the use of Toolbox Safety talks and videos.

What is Toolbox Safety?

Toolbox Safety, also known as Toolbox Talks are short 5-10 minute safety briefs on day-to-day safety procedures. They are used as short reminders of safety concepts that employees should have received during training.

Here’s how to get started:

Safety Library for your business

1) Build a Safety Library

The first order of business is to develop a library of safety topics that can be rotated throughout the calendar year. Our service locations generally do one safety meeting per week, so having 52 toolbox talks ready will let you cycle through once a year.

The library should include short presentations and videos to help keep the attention of your employees. You can also use print outs, but having a visual aid is a benefit for employee meetings.

When developing topics, keep it simple. Breakdown complex lessons into a few smaller lessons. For example, vehicle procedure might be broken down into four lessons:

  • Safe Driving
  • Equipment Tie-down
  • Fueling Safety
  • Trailer Hitching

Again, lessons should take around 5-10 minutes, so keep them simple and condensed.


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Quizzes for Safety Training

2) Create Quizzes

After you have a library of topics with supporting videos, handouts or presentations, it’s time to work on the documentation portion of your new toolbox safety system. Education and safety training is only as good as the documentation to support it. Since Toolbox talks are used to remind employees of safety concepts, build a short quiz for employees to take after each lesson. The questions do not need to be complicated, and often 4-5 questions is sufficient to cover the main points of the training. Have your employees sign and date on each quiz. These can be used to dispute negligence on your part if an employee ever sues for liability due to injury on the job.

Safety Training Records

3) Store Quizzes in Employee Files

Finally, be sure to store the completed quizzes in each employee’s file. We recommend storing them by date; as your Toolbox Topics start to repeat, simply replace the updated quiz to stay current.

These files can be used to prove that you’ve offered both comprehensive training as well as Tool box reminders. This process is for your safety and your employees safety.

Work Culture promoting safety

4) Bonus: Work Culture

Toolbox safety meetings are also an opportunity to increase work culture through a weekly employee meeting. It’s best to carve out some time on a Monday and start the week with a toolbox safety meeting. Our managers schedule the meeting about 30 minutes prior to our service trucks heading out to jobs, and bring donuts and coffee for the employees. This helps prepare your employees for the work after their weekend break. It’s also a good time to address any large projects you might have that week, and other work related topics.

Having a short employee meeting on Fridays is another good way to grow camaraderie and work culture in your business. Give awards or have snacks, and close out the week on a high note. You’ll find that the more team building you do, the higher your employee retention will be.

Successful business stems from efficient systems and great work culture. Using Toolbox Safety talks is a sure way to strengthen your existing systems while reinforcing safety and developing work culture. With the clear benefits, adding toolbox safety to your business routine is a no brainer.

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