EdApp by SafetyCulture

10 Essential topics for your OSHA toolbox talks


June 14, 2024


Mackie Angat


OSHA toolbox talks

OSHA toolbox talks are one of the easiest ways to maintain and improve workplace safety. They’re a quick measure you can rely on to minimize incidents, heighten compliance, and boost productivity in your team. 

Keep protection as your crew’s highest priority by reminding them of their on-site responsibilities for safety. Drive workers to always secure themselves and practice the best procedures using OSHA toolbox talks. 

What are OSHA toolbox talks? 

OSHA toolbox talks are short casual team meetings that address health risks, promote safe practices, and correct standards violations. It’s a simple huddle that refreshes everyone on general safety topics to protect themselves while doing their jobs. 

OSHA toolbox talks - What are OSHA toolbox talks?

Often referred to as safety briefings or tailgate meetings, these talks get you and your team to discuss the job site hazards and the organization protocols. It supplements training by guiding workers in applying regulations and procedures to tasks. 

Best tips for OSHA toolbox talks 

It may be informal, but some mistakes can be made with OSHA toolbox talks. To maximize benefits, here are the best tips for delivering tailgate meetings - 

  • Choose topics and OSHA standards relevant to your crew - Select safety topics and regulation standards that your team can apply to their worksite tasks. Choose relevant talking points based on your crew’s recent incidents, current projects, frequent violations, and present hazards. 
  • Hold it at the right time and right place on the job site - The timing and venue of your safety briefings can make all the difference. Hold your OSHA toolbox talks at the start of shifts or before a task. Make sure to deliver these discussions in noise-free areas that don’t have distractions. 
  • Keep your toolbox talk short - Remember that these sessions are meant for walkthroughs, reminders, and applications - not full training. Keep these briefings short, around five to fifteen minutes to maintain focus. 
  • Make your meetings engaging - Make your crew a part of the discussion. Don’t just make them listen quietly. Encourage them to contribute by asking for their questions, clarifications, and feedback on the topic. These talks are for their application, so it’s best to involve them.  
  • Use examples and perform demonstrations - Hands-on demonstrations improve your team’s practice of protocols and standards. Meanwhile, using tasks and incidents from the work site as examples helps your crew relate to the topic.  This improves the understanding and practicality of briefings. 
  • Take advantage of technology - Aid your talks with videos and images to drive points. Use online handouts and checklists that your team can easily keep and access on their devices. Try to deliver briefings and tests using safety learning management systems

Now that you know how to deliver better OSHA toolbox talks, let’s go through the essential topics you should cover. 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #1 - Hazard Communication 

Hazard Communication warns workers of the dangerous conditions or substances they’ll be exposed to in a working area. Refreshing workers on this skill sharpens their recognition and understanding of risks, better preparing them to stay protected. 

Retouch your team on label elements, safety data sheets, and pictograms. Make it a point for them to follow standards on creating HAZCOMS and the specifications on charting information during your OSHA toolbox talks. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Hazard Communication

Run through your organization’s documentation, classification, and inventory system, if they have their own. Reiterating all these talking points helps your team improve their communication of dangers and keep everyone safe. 

Let SC Training help you deliver OSHA toolbox talks. Their course library houses thousands of short and focused materials perfect for safety briefings. Discuss life-saving OSHA toolbox topics with your team in as fast as five minutes. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Hazard Communication: 

Access many great safety courses for your OSHA toolbox talks by signing up for SC Traning today! 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #2 - Electrical Safety 

Electrocution is one of the four most common causes of on-site fatalities. The threat of electrical shocks, thermal burns, and arc flashes leads to serious injuries and damage to equipment. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Electrical Safety

Retrace and reidentify the present electrical hazards in the workplace with your team. Help them evaluate the right safety controls and practices to address risks. Talk about the common electrical mistakes in working areas like improper insulation, grounding, or use of extension cords. 

Reintroduce your crew to the regulatory standards in using electrical equipment, along with the proper protection. Use this topic to also review the maintenance of these tools and how to deactivate devices. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Electrical Safety: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #3 - Fall Prevention 

The job characteristics of construction, general, and similar industries create many fall hazards for your team. Adding fall prevention to your safety briefing topics protects workers from the common risk. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Fall Prevention

Analyze together, as a crew, the holes, elevated platforms, and open-side floors present on-site. Brief them on the right safety harnesses, nets, and railings; include lanyards and anchor points to guard against these hazards. 

Run through them the safe entry and exit points of high areas. Besides that, reorient your team to assess dangerous surfaces and heightened places. Lastly, remind them of the required heights and distances to safeguard based on OSHA standards. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Fall Prevention: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #4 - Fire Safety 

Your worksite may have flammable or combustible materials that can cause fire outbreaks. Regularly delivering OSHA toolbox talks on fire safety refreshes workers on plans, practices, and preventions. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Fire Safety

Improve your crew’s awareness of the common fire hazards on-site, such as waste buildup, electrical overload, debris, and faulty wiring. Build on their understanding of flammable material containment and workplace clearing according to regulations. 

SC Training brings safety briefing materials to any of your team’s devices. Its mobile learning feature keeps toolbox talk knowledge in your workers’ hands. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Fire Safety: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #5 - Hazardous Materials 

Some workers may expose themselves to toxic chemicals through tasks or conditions. Including hazardous materials in your safety briefing topics leads your team to better practices and prepares them for emergencies when working with these matters. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Hazardous Materials

Improve the crew’s awareness of HAZMATs and refresh them on their characteristics and dangers. Retool them to prevent accidents like leaks and ruptures. Guide them on gears and risk assessments to handle hazardous materials safely. 

Review with the team the OSHA standards on controlling exposure like elimination, engineering controls, and protective equipment. With SC Training’s American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) reviewed toolbox talks, you can be sure of your worksite’s protection and compliance. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Hazardous Materials: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #6 - Lockout/Tagout 

Machines are one of your reliable tools on-site, which makes their proper use and maintenance all the more important. Reequip your team on locking out or tagging out these pieces of equipment to keep functionality and guard themselves against the hazardous energy they contain. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Lockout/Tagout

Machines are powered by electrical, thermal, hydraulic, or pneumatic energy sources that could cause serious incidents when uncontrolled. Regroup with your workers on shutting down circuits and avoiding extreme temperatures when using these tools. 

Introduce them again to the OSHA standards on using lockout and tagout devices in turning off, isolating, blocking, and securing energy from these machines. Realign crew members on regulation procedures to avoid unexpected start-ups and release of power. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Lockout/Tagout: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #7 - Machine Guarding 

Staying on machine safety, the next OSHA toolbox topic reorients workers on the safest equipment operation that improves efficiency and productivity. Machine guarding protects your crew from pinch points, rotating parts, and other hazardous areas. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Machine Guarding

Review with team members the fixed, interlocked, self-adjusting, and adjustable guards that they can apply to the machines on the work site. Also, reiterate to them OSHA’s safeguarding standards like security and contact prevention. 

You can also remind them of the different machine-guarding methods that the regulatory body recommends. They can reconsider adapting devices, locations, feeding and ejection methods, and aids to secure themselves better from equipment hazards. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Machine Guarding: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #8 - Personal Protective Equipment 

Personal protective equipment is your team’s last defense against workplace hazards and their most accessible safeguard. Adding this topic to your OSHA toolbox talks helps crew members recall the types of PPEs and the right usage for protection. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Personal Protective Equipment

Build on their inspection skills for damage and wear with the proper maintenance and storage. Remind them that the equipment has limitations and is better when paired with other hazard controls, as it’s a last defense measure against burns, shocks, radiation, and diseases.

You’d want your team’s full attention during tailgate meetings. SC Training makes sure of that with its engaging learner experience that excites members during safety briefings. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Personal Protective Equipment: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #9 - First Aid 

Even with careful work and due awareness, incidents can still happen. Holding OSHA safety talks on first aid keeps your team prepared to act during emergencies. 

OSHA toolbox talks - First Aid

Chances of surviving injuries increase with quick treatment and a situation might call for your members to do that. Improve their knowledge of first-aid techniques, so brief hands-on demonstrations will be very effective. 

Help them remember how to use the contents of a first-aid kit properly. It’ll be great for them to be reoriented also on the OSHA requirements for this emergency equipment. 

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on First Aid: 

OSHA toolbox talks topic #10 - Incident Investigation 

As was said in the previous section, incidents can still happen. Unrecognized flaws in the organization’s processes, systems, and equipment could’ve caused it, and the only way to find out is through a proper incident investigation. 

OSHA toolbox talks - Incident Investigation

While these briefings are usually reserved for supervisors, including your team through OSHA toolbox talks can bring many perks to the organization. Huddle together to identify the hazardous conditions and practices that led to the incident. 

Finding a deeper source for incidents, rather than blame during tailgate meetings helps your team improve on-site procedures and policies. A team effort of collecting facts, sequencing events, and determining causes can help everyone avoid similar events in the future.  

Recommended OSHA toolbox talks on Incident Investigation: 

Deliver your team the best OSHA toolbox talks by joining SC Training. Improving on-site safety is a click away!


Mackie Angat

Mackie Angat is a content specialist for SC Training, an employee training software that puts learning in the hands of everyone, everywhere. When he's not writing for the team, he lifts weights, discovers music artists and albums, watches old films, or supports his favorite sports teams.

Privacy|Terms & Conditions|Security| © SC Training 2024