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ToolBox Talks in Hospitality

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

We’ve made it quick and convenient for you to see the best way that you can use one of the simplest and safest ways to prevent workplace injuries.

chefs cooking in the kitchen

What is a Toolbox Talk?

Toolbox talks are quick, simple, and easy-to-understand safety discussions conducted before starting a shift. Also known as safety briefings, pre-start, or take 5 safety talks, a toolbox talk is ideally conversational in tone and takes about 2-5 minutes of engaging workers to discuss their awareness of health and safety risks associated with their tasks. This would be longer in some other industries. An effective toolbox talk helps promote a culture of safety in the workplace and facilitates the sharing of knowledge and safety best practices among workers.

The Importance of Toolbox Talks

Having short but frequent Toolbox Talks can significantly reduce workplace incidents. A recent report found that companies that conduct Toolbox Talks daily had a 64% reduction in total incident rates than those that conducted their Toolbox Talk meetings on a monthly basis.

In addition to identifying immediate hazards for the day, an effective Toolbox Talk can:

  1. Grow a safety-conscious culture within an organization.

  2. Keep all workers aware of ongoing risks.

  3. Improve team communication and problem-solving.

  4. Serve as a reminder of workers’ duties and responsibilities.

  5. Actioned Tool box talks as an updated record of hazard prevention.

The Purpose of Toolbox Talks

A toolbox talk is an industry best practice for reinforcing a safe culture within a workplace as it emphasizes the importance of safety in small, but consistent increments.

Toolbox safety meetings are meant to supplement, not replace safety training and education. They are used as a constant awareness and refresher tool and are apart of all SMS systems as outlined in the WHS Act 2012.

So what do Hospitality employees discuss?

Toolbox talk topics are safety agendas that should be discussed with workers before commencing work. It varies depending on the workers’ needs for the current or upcoming activities that would help expand their awareness of health and safety risks associated with their tasks. A toolbox talk topic should be short, efficient, and easy to comprehend.

In the hospitality industry, this would really be best practice in the kitchen due to the obvious sharps, heat and chemicals present. But This doesn't mean that a serious incident can't happen on a busy night with hot meals being carried out in a hurry to hungry patrons.

Another real hazard is for the security services in a venue to talk about potential hazard points and tactics in case of escalation of an unruly or drunk patron being asked to leave.

1. Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, Trips and Falls are the common causes of accidents in all workplaces, particularly in hospitality, and are often the most overlooked hazards. Discuss with your team the most common types of slip injuries and have them point out any hazards on in the venue Get your team to suggest methods to prevent these


2. Manual Handling Toolbox Talk

One of the most common injuries across all industries relates to pain, strain, and injuries to the back. This is caused by using poor techniques in manual handling (e.g., twisting, turning, lifting, carrying materials, or digging). During your toolbox talks, discuss and demonstrate the best practices for manual handling. In hospitality, many injuries occur moving cases, kegs, tables, and bags of ice. Discuss breaking jobs into more manageable lifts as well as duel lifting and of course using mechanical lifting devices.

3. Electrical Safety

Electrocutions are not common but they are deadly. Hazards exist in the kitchen as well as with cleaning equipment such as vacuums and polishers, DJ booths and setup for live gigs always present hazards for both staff and patrons.

Discussing this topic during your toolbox talk help remind every worker about the hazards of electricity and the preventive measures when getting in contact with it.

4. Chemical Talk

Workplaces have the potential to produce hazardous substances, whether that be from cleaning chemicals, or cooking oils to dust and gases. Make your team aware of these hazardous substances to prevent negative health risks. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be available for all staff to check on the risks associated with being exposed to this chemical and then its side effects. During your toolbox talk, have a discussion on areas of their tasks that involves hazardous substances and how you can all reduce the risks of them occurring.

5. Fire Extinguisher Toolbox Talk

In the event of fire incidents, employers expect their employees to use fire extinguishers. Use a toolbox talk help employees get details in terms of its location as well as roles during fire emergencies. In Australia, the Fire extinguisher colour is designated fought the type of fire that is to be fought. It's also important to know when a fire is too big to fight with extinguishers alone and when to evacuate.

6. Reporting and records

Employees have the first and primary responsibility in accident reporting. Should an employee be involved with any injury, first aid, incident or near miss, you are expected to report directly to your supervisor or safety department immediately. Use the Saucedit Mobile APP to report these hazards in real-time.

7. First Aid Kit

Discuss this topic amongst your team to ensure everyone is knowledgeable on first aid arrangements in place. some venues insist that qualified First aider is on shift. During your toolbox talk, cover where first aid equipment and supplies are stored, emergency contacts in case of a serious injury, and objectives to administer when providing first aid to an injured person until professional help arrives.

8.Housekeeping Toolbox Talk

Good Workplace housekeeping contributes to providing a safe workplace. A dishevelled and disorderly work environment not only lowers morale but also may result in employee injuries or worst-case scenario, death. Trip and fire hazards occur due to poor housekeeping. To avoid this, you can conduct safety talks and cover general housekeeping rules and best practices.

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