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What does "toolbox meeting" or "toolbox training" mean? The context is "Incident Report/ Toolbox meeting minutes /signed attendance sheet"

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A toolbox meeting or toolbox talk is a short daily, weekly or monthly meeting usually (but not always) to discuss safety matters in an informal and clear manner.

The AchieveSafety website says:

Holding tool box meetings is an excellent and quick way of increasing safety involvement and awareness at grass roots level. However, there are a few simple tips to follow if you want to use this tool effectively.

First of all toolbox meetings are usually run in small work groups by the supervisor, leading hand, team leader etc. of the group. The meetings are short, about 5 to 10 minutes, and informal.

The basic idea is to provide a direct method of communication and exchange of information between management, supervision and the shop floor with the purpose of improving safety and health by directly involving workers in issues that are important to them. Using tool box meetings is an ideal way to get employees involved in matters relating to their own safety, finding solutions to problems, as well as building a committed and productive team.

The name comes from the team gathering around a toolbox at a construction site for the talk, but these meetings can be held at any workplace; Harvard University's Environmental Health & Safety recommends departments hold monthly 15-minute talks. Other names are tailgate meetings, safety time-outs and crew briefings.


The term dates back to at least the 1940s. Here's Safety Education: A Magazine of the Good Adventure (Volumes 24-25) from around 1944 - 1946:

The play, entitled "Fairyland Weekly Toolbox Meeting," was written by Mrs. W. F. Caldwell, of the Hanford P.T.A., at the suggestion of her husband, who felt that employees would appreciate such a novel program at their weekly safety meeting.

Here's a circa 1957 snippet in Western Construction (Volume 32 - Page 42):

By this, we mean the establishment of such things as "toolbox" meeting between foremen and their workmen, the setting up of safety rules and practices for the job, the investigation and correction of accident causes, posters and bulletin boards, etc.

"Toolbox Training" is the title of a 1935 article in American Machinist, and whilst the topic is about showing and demonstrating the contents of one's toolbox to apprentices, the term may have been used as a play on words about existing safety meetings.

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A toolbox meeting is a short informal meeting conducted in an employee's usual place of work (i.e. not is a special conference room or anywhere of that sort) and not lasting very long. The imagery comes from toolbox talk, a talk given in a place of work, in which the speaker stands on a toolbox.

protected by MetaEd Nov 15 '18 at 22:52

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