4 Awesome Sources for Free Toolbox Talks

Close-up of a pair of construction boots. One leg on the top of a red toolbox.

If you’ve spent hours searching online for free toolbox talks, you’re not alone. The search for reliable sources for safety meetings and tailgate talks never seems to end.

Hopefully, this blog post helps ease the irritation of constantly looking for toolbox talks on the Internet. I’ve compiled four websites that offer quality toolbox talks for download. The best part? They’re free.

I can’t promise that you’ll be able to make use of every toolbox talk contained on these sites. But spending time on each of these four sites is going to be a lot more fruitful than typing “free toolbox talks” into your Google searchbar.

Center for Construction Research and Training

Many downloadable toolbox talks come with illustrations—but rarely do these images add any value. However, that’s not the case with the toolbox talks provided by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). They come with large, detailed and useful illustrations that are clear, effective and unlike the images you find on other toolbox talks.

The toolbox talks include best practices, stories or examples, and other practical features. And with 52 talks available, there’s enough material to hold a year’s worth of safety meetings.

CPWR has also teamed up with the ASSE to produce Spanish versions of each talk, making it a perfect resource for companies that want to make sure every worker receives the same timely reminders regardless of what language they speak.

Safety Awakenings

No one does a better job of aggregating free toolbox talks than Safety Awakenings. Dave Weber has compiled hundreds of toolbox talks from dozen of websites, along with brief commentary on each to help readers sort through the many options.

These toolbox talks are collected from a variety of sources, including insurance companies, universities, blogs written by safety professionals and more. Some of the talks focus on more specialized topics, such as tailgate meetings for heavy equipment and other more specific-use cases.

Safety Awakenings has also gathered plenty of other resources too, including safety posters, forms and PowerPoints. If you’re looking for multiple types of safety resources, this website is one of the first places I’d recommend visiting.

Infrastructure Health & Safety Association

There is nothing overly innovative about the toolbox talks presented by the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA). But there is something to be said about doing what everyone else does, but better.

The toolbox talks available for download on IHSA’s website clearly explain dangers in the workplace, outline controls and suggest questions or a quick demonstration for the issue in question. These talks are also easy to ready and well-organized on their website. One of the best parts of these talks is that they also prompt the person delivering the talk to consider site-specific issues. This helps the user make sure the talks are more personalized and relevant.

Pro Toolbox Talks

Last but not least is Pro Toolbox Talks. (You didn’t think I’d forget to mention us, did you?) Our free toolbox talks are packed with all the elements you expect to see in a premium safety talk.

These toolbox talks motivate workers to think about essential safety issues, engage them in practical discussions, and offer a call to action that increases the likelihood that they’ll act safer throughout their shift. Plus, these toolbox talks come in different formats to catch and keep workers’ attention.

Takeaways about free toolbox talks

There are thousands of free toolbox talks floating around out there. After reviewing many of them, I noticed two trends.

The first is that almost all of them are exactly the same. Every single talk is a short lecture or list of bullet points. It’s no wonder that workers tune these toolbox talks out. Where’s the engagement?

The second common trend in free toolbox talks is that almost every website provides only one or two talks on each subject. There aren’t too many workplaces that need to cover a topic only once or twice.

In my experience, if you have a problem with hand injuries then you really have a problem with hand injuries (or PPE compliance, back injuries, dropped tools or whatever else). This means you need a lot of toolbox talks that discuss the same issue from several different angles.

Summary

You can’t go wrong with any of the free toolbox talks on this list. There are a lot of sub-par toolbox talks on the Internet, but these four websites provide quality talks you can count on.

If you’re looking for more engaging toolbox talks, try the talks from Pro Toolbox Talks or CPWR.

Pro Toolbox Talks includes discussion and other engagement elements as part of each talk. You can’t get much better than that.

CPWR provides a single question at the end of each talk to get workers thinking about the issue at hand. One example is “What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent injuries while arc welding?” This type of question in isolation is a good start, though ideally should be part of a larger discussion rather than included as an afterthought.

It’s also worth noting that IHSA suggests a brief demonstration with each talk, which isn’t always as effective as a full discussion or asking direct questions, but is still a step above lecture-style toolbox talks.

If you’re looking for multiple free toolbox talks on the same topic then go for IHSA or Pro Toolbox Talks.

Currently, IHSA has multiple talks on a few different topics. (At the time I wrote this post, there are three different talks on fall protection, for example.) It looks like they may be adding new ones down the road too.

Pro Toolbox Talks provides a variety of approaches to the same issue to keep recurring topics from going stale. Their free talks pair well with more run-of-the-mill toolbox talks from other sources. And the full library of downloadable toolbox talks is a great resource for anyone who wants a wider and more effective range of options for tailgate talks and safety meetings.

Do you have any go-to sources for free toolbox talks? Let me know in the comments below.

One thought on “4 Awesome Sources for Free Toolbox Talks

  1. Roy Valenzuela says:

    I downloaded the first four safety topics and was very impressed on the information included. I have already used the the suggestions on providing better interaction with employees as well as sharing the information with job site foreman who hold safety meetings prevalent to their site.
    Very useful. I need more!

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