Safety is a priority in any sort of construction field, and concrete construction is no different. Chances are that all of your work teams understand the basic safety and efficiency standards. However, there are also additional considerations that come into play for every single site. For example, your state may change up the local rules, requiring you to add a new piece of safety equipment or practices. In other cases, there may be behavior that’s starting to concern management, like skirting regulations in the name of speed. In order to keep things from getting out of control, you need to implement some concrete toolbox talks as soon as possible.
Concrete toolbox talks are a multi-purpose discussion, but the main benefit is that everyone on your team can receive the exact same information, news, and guidance. How you set up and hold your toolbox talks, as well as your selection for toolbox talks topics, can radically impact how successful they are. Here’s what you need to know about what these entail and how to have a successful one.
Starting With Toolbox Talks-Concrete
A general practice across construction, concrete construction included, a toolbox talk is an informal discussion held by a team leader to talk to the other workers on site. This isn’t a formal meeting or lecture. In fact, your average toolbox talk only takes a few minutes right before a shift or project, and are held on-site. There are a few things that you can do here:
- -Provide key information or developments that senior members can relay to apprentices and newcomers
- -Provide a quick safety refresher
- -Create an open forum for workers to discuss safety concerns
If done correctly, there are immediate benefits like the opportunity to bolster a safe company culture, along with improving morale and communication. How can one single practice do so much? Toolbox talks offer a critical bridge between the management of a concrete company and the on-site workers. Anyone in a professional organization has been frustrated by directives from management that seem to be ignorant of the realities of day-to-day work. Toolbox talks are designed to prevent that from happening, making sure that higher directives are clear to understand.
Improving and Refining Your Concrete Toolbox Talks
Remember, a toolbox talk is not a meeting, which means that if you don’t explain something clearly the first time, you’re not going to have much time to clear things up. As a matter of fact, you don’t want to run the risk of frustrating your teams by going over the same topic over and over again. Having a plan to put together successful toolbox talks requires the following steps:
For whoever is holding the concrete toolbox talks, it’s probably best to make sure that you read over things a few times before actually staging the talk. We’re not all public speakers by nature, but you still want to be able to give a sleek and professional presentation. In addition to practicing, reading over your talk a few times lets you point out errors or things that don’t make any sense.
When it comes to relating to your team and showing these talks are useful, giving a practical set of examples is the best thing you can do. If the topic is safety, don’t try to talk theory, but give a safety issue that can happen daily. This way, your discussion is immediately useful. If it’s possible to demonstrate safe or unsafe behavior during the talk, this can also help make the points clear to everyone.
Early on, you may have a set amount of talks that you want to go over. This can be safety-related topics, things related to efficiency, or relaying a piece of company news. If you plan on regularly scheduling toolbox talks, though, it may be a good idea to open things up for suggestions on future topics. This will ensure that the talks stay relevant in the long-term.
Scheduling and Reminders
In order to make the most of the talks, you want to be sure that your teams are aware in advance. Of course, they aren’t going to not be present, but you want to give them time to prepare their thoughts in advance as well. This way, if there is a major point they need to bring up, they can do so. This also helps make it be more of a free exchange rather than someone talking at the team the whole time.
You don’t want your toolbox talks to give the impression of professionally-sanctioned critique sessions. By all means, point out unsafe behavior. However, you want to be sure that you include positive statements as well. If you are overly negative, you run the risk of hurting morale, and staff just tuning out your statements.
In situations where regular toolbox talks on concrete cutting and other items are required, it’s generally a good idea to make sure that you have a standing record of what was discussed as well as reactions/information that come to light. This can be important to figure out the ways where your team is excelling and can improve in being safe. However, manually keeping records after every talk can be inefficient, which is where project management software like eSub is most effective.
How can project management software help with concrete safety toolbox talks? For one thing, cloud storage makes it possible for you to easily access information on safety incidents and other job site activity that should be covered in your toolbox talks. In addition, they can help in an indirect way. Recording equipment usage and worker activity via project management may reveal issues that impact either safety or efficiency in operations. This gives you the evidence you need to bring up a new topic with your concrete safety toolbox talks.