04 Oct 2022

How to successfully deliver a Toolbox Talk

Toolbox talk

Below are a few simple tips on how to successfully deliver a Toolbox Talk.

Competence to deliver a Toolbox Talk

Staff that have attended health and safety training are permitted to deliver Toolbox Talks. This is so they can speak confidently and answer any queries that may arise. If you wish to deliver Toolbox Talks you can take the IOSH Managing Safely certificate or equivalent, (as a minimum.)

Frequency of Toolbox Talks

One of the best ways to deliver Toolbox Talks is to plan a 12-month programme, choosing a different topic every month. The frequency to repeat or refresh a chosen topic should be risk-based. For example, topics dealing with high-risk activities such as ‘work at height’ should be repeated more frequently e.g. every 6 months, while lower risk topics can rotate every 12 months.

Topic for Toolbox Talks

Choose a topic that is a priority to your audience and has been agreed by your line manager. The topic needs to be relevant for your working environment and that you are familiar with. You will have lots of questions to answer. so familiarise yourself with relevant policies or procedures.

Location for Toolbox Talks

Choose a suitable location, to allow the Toolbox Talk to be delivered without interruptions or disturbances.

Audience size for a Toolbox Talk

Between 1 and 10 in number will be the most effective but larger audiences may sometimes be the only solution.

When should Toolbox Talks take place

Ideally Toolbox talks should take place at the beginning of the working day, to start the day with the right attitude. Limit the duration to 10 minutes – stay focussed on the key issues.

What you can do

You can develop a list of actions that the audience can do, in order to comply with the talk.

Questions to ask at Toolbox Talks

Ask your audience key questions to help their understanding.


Toolbox talks are NOT lectures and are designed to get people to think and talk about Health and Safety issues. You want the group to be fully involved and create a discussion. Can you create a two-way communication? Refer to relevant incidents that have happened on site in previous weeks. Take on a questioning approach, get the message across and listen to responses.

For example:

Typical prompts/questions may be:

  • What do you think the benefits are from this type of discussion?
  • Can you name the hazards from the incident described
  • How can we do things differently to limit the risks?
  • Let’s discuss the learning points?


Points to consider:

  • How do other people present Toolbox talks and decide upon a style that best suits you
  • Make it interesting for the audience perhaps through humour
  • Generate interest in the topic with the questions you ask
  • Highlight some keywords to remind you on the points to bring up
  • Don’t just read the topic- take the topic and try to build up the discussion point by point
  • Be a good listener
  • Invite a guest speaker to come and present a talk
  • It is important and relevant to allow a short discussion, then bring them back to the main issue so they don’t get side tracked.


  • You can collect signatures from everyone in attendance to confirm their participation
  • Ensure your signed Toolbox Talk records are safe or use an online portal such as SafetyBox

If you need further assistance with Toolbox Talks, we have a large variety of ‘ready to deliver’ Toolbox Talk materials available, so please email us at info@sentinelsafety.co.uk for further details.

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