Fire is a reality that all businesses must prepare for.  In a live fire situation panic is likely to make the incident more dangerous.  The best way to combat panic is to understand the appropriate responses and to regularly practice those responses, so that they become second nature.  As part of the Simple Safety Series ACAPMA has released a basic Fire Risk and Response Toolbox Talk and Drill Scaffold.

“We recommend all businesses implement a process to go beyond the initial induction fire safety training to do regular ‘practice drills’ and ‘toolbox talks” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

“In a serious emergency event people default to their lowest or most recent form of training, and if there has been no training, or it was a long time ago, there is nothing to call on and the result is panic.  So we need to train staff well AND often in order to get the best outcomes in the event of an emergency” continued Elisha.

“A great way to do this is with regular Toolbox Talks.  Short, simple, focused safety discussions with staff that reinforce the learnings they already have can ensure that instead of panic staff can fall back on what they have practiced” concluded Elisha.

Toolbox Talk 101

What is a Toolbox Talk?
Toolbox talks are semi formal stand up meetings where you bring the staff together for a short period of time to discuss a particular item.

The topic can be safety and compliance, or business policies and procedures. Just ensure that you keep it short and sweet, no more than 20 mins at the longest.

How do I prepare for a Toolbox Talk?
A Toolbox Talk should have an Outline, that covers what is going to be discussed (and forms the Notes for staff who were unable to attend) and a Sign On Sheet to record who was there and that they received the information that was communicated at the talk.

Who should attend an Toolbox Talk? What if someone misses the Toolbox Talk?
All staff should aim to attend. Anyone who misses the meeting will need to review the notes and sign off that they understand the contents of the meeting.

How often should I do a  Toolbox Talk?
One Toolbox talk per 4-8 weeks should be the aim, to keep safety and compliance front of mind for all staff.

Why should I bother doing a Toolbox Talk?
It can be a hassle arranging meetings and preparing documents, but it is worth it. Not only does this approach help build a safety and compliance culture at work, delivering real safety benefits but regular Toolbox Talks can also;

₋provide a way of showing inspectors that you are consulting on safety, as required by the law
₋provide a way of showing inspectors that you are active in assessing and communicating risks to staff, as required by the law
₋provide a way of regularly highlighting desirable and undesirable work behaviours, which makes performance management simpler, more natural and more compliant


Basic Fire Risk and Response Toolbox Talk and Drill Scaffold

Here to Help

Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business.  They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice.  You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor.  ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via  , it is free for members.  ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see;   for more information.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)