67 Toolbox Talk Topics: Critical Safety Shares to Emphasize with Your Team

Toolbox Talk Topics



Toolbox talks, also commonly known as safety shares, are utilized all over the world to help employees practice good safety habits. And while toolbox talks are a great way to improve workplace safety, educate employees and lower the risk of injuries and fatalities, researching potential topics for your next safety meeting can easily consume an abundance of valuable work time.

Below, we have established a list of useful toolbox talk topics to save you time, money and research, so you can be prepped and ready to deliver your next safety meeting in record time.

Each of the 67 topics listed below is linked to a specific resource to help you start a discussion around that topic. You can explore topics organized by category using the menu of links below.


Explore toolbox talk topics by category



1. Bacteria and viruses

Bacteria and viruses are the foundation of biohazards. This toolbox talk topic covers the characteristics of bacteria and viruses, how they can spread and what you can do to prevent contracting or spreading them.


2. Signs of infection

Infections can be debilitating and, on occasion, deadly. Here are some common signs and symptoms of infection to watch out for.


3. Face masks

Amidst the global pandemic, face masks have been a staple in helping minimize the spread of airborne-transmitted diseases. Face masks come in a variety of levels of protection, sizes and material and should not be used in place of respiratory protection for unhealthy concentrations of gases, vapors or particulates.


4. Handwashing

Handwashing is key to stopping the spread of germs and unwanted bacteria; however, it’s important to remember that handwashing is only most effective when you follow these steps.


5. Social distancing

This toolbox talk discusses the basic principles of social distancing, why it’s effective and how you can substitute crowded, social activities for options that allow for distancing of at least six feet.


6. Bloodborne pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens are viruses contracted through contact with another person’s blood or bodily fluids. Before assisting someone who is ill or has an open wound, it’s important to report the incident to a supervisor or someone who is appropriately equipped to handle contamination safely.


7. Diseases transmitted from animals

While most of us have a soft spot for animals, remember that some — especially nondomestic — animals have a high potential for carrying diseases that can be transmitted to humans.


Electrical safety

8. Arc flash electrical safety

Arc flashes cause thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths every year, and they make up most electrical accidents in the workplace. Prepare yourself and your team for arc flash hazards with this toolbox talk.


9. Power line safety

Power lines are a crucial element to utility communications, but they also introduce a medley of hazards to those with a lack of training, supervision and safety procedures. This power line toolbox talk resource highlights safety tips, emergency procedures and legislation.


10. Electrical emergencies

Having safety protocols for various electrical emergencies can mean the difference between life and death. Refresh your team on how to handle downed power lines, electrocution and live conductors with this toolbox talk topic.


11. Electrical tape

While electrical tape is helpful for many electrical projects, it does have its restrictions. Use this toolbox talk as an opportunity to remind your team not to use electrical tape for cord repairs and splices.


12. Extension cords

Extension cords are a great tool for getting power to a work area where an electrical receptacle is unavailable; however, it’s important to know the limitations of extension cords and how to use them safely.


13. Reversed polarity

Discuss this toolbox talk topic with your team as a reminder of the basics of plugs, the flow of electricity and the science behind the dangers of reversed polarity.


14. Listing and labeling requirements

Electrical devices can have a multitude of purposes, but you could be putting yourself and others around you in danger if a device is being used for purposes in which it was not designed. For this reason, electrical devices should only be used according to their listed instructions.


Environmental safety

15. Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that — at high concentrations — can cause death in minutes. Share this toolbox talk with your team, so they are aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning at work and at home.


16. Housekeeping

When housekeeping is not being managed on a job site, it can lead to accidents, near misses and injuries. Keeping your job site organized and clear of debris is the best way to avoid hazards and keep materials in working order.


17. Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous mixture of a variety of materials, including crocidolite, amosite, chrysotile, anthophyllite and tremolite, and is known to cause cancer and asbestosis. Discuss with your team how to work safely around this hazardous material.


18. Bug protection

This is a great toolbox talk to have with any teams who have outdoor responsibilities. Chat with your team about best practices and safety tips in environments where they may be exposed to bugs and pests.


19. Hydrogen sulfide

This colorless gas is not only highly flammable but also extremely toxic. Highlight the signs and symptoms of hydrogen sulfide ingestion and discuss emergency procedures in the case of hydrogen sulfide exposure.


20. Mold and mildew

Mold and mildew are fungi that thrive in moist environments, and they can cause respiratory problems, congestion and severe irritation if not addressed properly. Use this toolbox talk to promote the best safety practices in the presence of this threat.


21. Radon gas

Radon gas is yet another imperceptible element that is known to contribute to the development of lung cancer. Share with your team how to test for radon and what remedial measures should be taken to eliminate exposure.


22. Silica dust

Exposure to silica dust at high concentrations can lead to a condition called silicosis, which is distinguishable by symptoms of chest pain, fever, respiratory problems and weakness. In this toolbox talk, remind your team to wear respirators in the presence of silica dust to avoid the potential for developing acute, accelerated or chronic silicosis.


23. Poison ivy

Poison ivy is distinguishable by its three, pointed leaves and the nasty rash it can leave behind. Take this opportunity to remind your team about the characteristics of poison ivy and how to treat exposure.


Fall safety

24. Ladders

Ladders are a necessary tool for many projects, but they introduce a risk of falling and injuries. Take this toolbox talk opportunity to walk through some tips on how to avoid falling while using portable ladders.


25. Preventing slips

Slips can happen easily if there is an unexpected change in friction between our feet and a walking surface. Use this toolbox talk to emphasize the importance of cleaning up spills, wiping moisture from the bottom of shoes and staying attentive to surroundings to prevent slips.


26. Guardrails

While guardrails are a great safety measure, they do come with common misconceptions, including their ability to carry weight. Remind your team to avoid leaning on, leaning over, climbing or supporting oneself on guardrails.


27. Falls from scaffolding

Falls from scaffolding can be debilitating or fatal. If you or your team will be working on a job site where you are positioned 10 or more feet above the ground, it’s especially important to emphasize fall-preventing safety tips.


28. Footwear

Proper footwear is essential in every workplace to lower the risk of slips, injuries and other accidents. Connect with your team about proper footwear for your job site environment.


29. Fall protection

There are many forms of equipment designed to prevent fall injuries, including fall arrest systems and travel restraints. Use this toolbox talk to highlight fall prevention equipment and inspect the adequacy of your fall equipment.


30. Ramps and runways

With ramps and runways being an integral component to a multitude of job sites, it’s crucial to hold discussions regarding their general rules and risks.


Fire safety

31. Extinguishers

Take this opportunity to refresh your team on how to use a fire extinguisher and ensure they understand fire extinguisher maintenance.


32. Fire drills

Fire drills can differ depending on your environment and should be performed regularly to ensure everyone is familiar with your job site’s fire drill procedures.


33. Fire safety at home

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), there is an average of over 350,000 house fires every year. Encourage your team to practice fire safety at home with this toolbox talk.


34. Flammable liquids

OSHA classifies flammable liquids as Category 1, 2, 3 or 4. Use this toolbox talk to educate your team about what each category entails, how potential fires can be prevented and how they should be handled.


35. Emergency exits

In case of a fire or other similar emergencies, everyone on the job site should be familiar with emergency routes and exits. This toolbox talk is a great opportunity to remind your team where your emergency exits are located and the fastest route to each.


36. Refueling equipment

Refueling equipment is a basic, job site necessity, but in many cases, it can also pose as a hazard. Gasoline and other fuels are highly flammable and should be handled with the utmost attention and care to prevent fires, explosions or other serious hazards.


General health

37. First aid

In the case of an accident or injury, it’s critical that everyone understands the basics of first aid and getting help for victims on the job site. Use this toolbox talk to focus on key points in the event of a first-aid situation.


38. Lifting safety

Lifting injuries are all too common on job sites because of improper lifting techniques. Educate your team on the best lifting and carrying tips for preventing debilitating back, neck and shoulder injuries.


39. Hydration

Water makes up over 60% of our body weight, which makes it the most important element in staying alert, healthy and, in turn, safe. Use this time to offer hydration tips and emphasize the importance of drinking water throughout the day.


40. Fatigue

Fatigue can be caused by several factors, including lack of sleep, dehydration, medications or health issues. Encourage your team to be aware of their levels of fatigue and put their health first.


41. Diabetes

People with diabetes commonly avoid discussing their disease at work, but it’s important to remind your team how to help them in the case of an emergency (i.e., reactions to low or high blood sugar).


42. Food safety

Everyone needs to eat, but storing, reheating and eating leftover foods can be tricky and sometimes cause foodborne illnesses. Remind your team to take care in how they store their food and recognize when it’s no longer safely edible.


43. Harassment

Use this toolbox talk as a reminder for harassment intolerance in and out of the workplace, who to contact in the case of workplace harassment and how to support others who are being (or have been) harassed.


44. Wellness

Wellness means more than being physically healthy; it is also measured by our mental well-being. Foster a healthy workplace by acknowledging hazards, keeping the workplace organized and offering support and leadership.


45. Warming up

Warming up on the job site is equally as (if not more) important than warming up before a workout at the gym or a jog around the block. By warming up, you are less likely to have sore and tired muscles or obtain a sprain injury.


46. Allergies

Communicate with your team about their allergies and make them known to everyone at your job site. You should also take this opportunity to educate your team on what to do in the event of an allergic reaction.


Personal protective equipment (PPE)

47. Eye and face protection

Eye and face protection is important for any job site where chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical hazards are present. Chat with your team about your job site requirements for eye and face protection, so they are well-prepared for upcoming projects.


48. Hand protection

We are constantly working with our hands, which means we must use hand protection that prevents cuts, burns or other serious injuries. Use this toolbox talk topic to remind your team when to utilize hand protection and what hand protection will work best for your job site environment.


49. Foot protection

Proper foot protection is critical on job sites where heavy materials are being handled, rolling objects are present or electrical equipment is exposed. Identify hazards with your team and educate them on what foot protection will work best to combat these hazards.


50. Head protection

OSHA standards require head protection to be worn anywhere workers are exposed to falling objects or electrical currents. Remind your team to check in with their supervisor or safety manager about the minimum protective standards for head protection and hardhats on the job site.


51. Dust masks

Dust masks are meant to filter the air we breathe in environments where larger particles may be inhaled. Clarify with your team when it’s appropriate to wear a dusk mask and when they may need equipment designed to protect against other harmful contaminants.


52. Respiratory protection

Respirators can be used in the presence of many different threats, including insufficient oxygen environments, smoke and gases. Use this toolbox talk as a reminder of your respirator program where proper equipment procedures are outlined.


53. Knee pads

Knee injuries can be extremely painful and require a long recovery period. Emphasize the importance of knee pads on job sites with concrete finishing, roofing work, welding and more.


Vehicle safety

54. Truck safety

Any vehicles on a job site can create dangerous conditions for operators and other workers. Trucks can be especially dangerous because of their weight, handling and blind spots. Ensure your team has the proper training, resources and supervision before getting behind the wheel of a job site truck.


55. Winter driving

Operating vehicles or machinery in dry, summer weather is very different from operating in winter weather. Take this opportunity to refresh your team on winter driving safety and share some tips on how to operate vehicles with caution during those pesky, slippery winter months.


56. Defensive driving

Defensive driving is key to reducing the risk of vehicular accidents — especially in the presence of others who don’t practice defensive driving techniques. Encourage your team to do their part to reduce accidents or collisions by staying attentive behind the wheel, securing loose items and following speed limits.


57. Distracted driving

Driving is already surrounded by a multitude of hazards, but driving while distracted greatly increases the likelihood of those hazards to occur. Share driving guidelines with your team, so driving risks are reduced.


58. Forklift safety

While forklifts are a great resource for saving time, money and workplace injuries caused by heavy hauling, they can be dangerous when they are not operated by trained professionals. Use this toolbox talk to ensure your team knows how to safely operate a forklift and improve productivity.


59. Road work safety

Road work is essential to keeping our roadways operable, safe and free of hazards, but this essential task can be extremely dangerous because of passing vehicles, heavy equipment and hazardous weather conditions. Support your team by offering this toolbox talk to identify job site risks, highlight safety procedures and maintain a safe workplace.


60. Spotter

Having a spotter is important any time a vehicle with restricted view is on-site. Remind your team that it is the responsibility of the job site spotter to look out for themselves and others, ensure vehicles or projects are not damaged and give clear signals.


61. Seatbelt use

Seatbelts are lifesavers. Emphasize the importance of wearing a seatbelt in vehicles at or away from work with this toolbox talk.


Weather safety

62. Heat exhaustion

During the summer months, people who work in outdoor job sites are exposed to intense heat, UV rays and the risk of dehydration. Discuss ways your team can prevent heat exhaustion, how to recognize symptoms and what to do in the event of someone falling victim to heat exhaustion.


63. Effects of weather

Weather conditions can change in the blink of an eye, and it’s something we don’t have any control over; however, we can control what to do if weather disrupts the job site and worker safety. Use this toolbox talk to advise your team what to do when weather compromises safety.


64. Frostbite

Frostbite can commonly appear on the cheeks, ears, nose, hands and feet in freezing temperatures. Highlight the symptoms of frostbite and what you can do to treat it effectively and safely.


65. High wind

Wind speed can compromise any outdoor job site by blowing debris, knocking over equipment or causing slips, trips and falls. Refresh your team on some basic safety principles to follow when wind is creating job site hazards.


66. Skin cancer

The sun can affect our skin in many ways, and too much sun exposure can lead to the formation of skin conditions, including skin cancer. Provide your team with some safety tips to avoid excessive sun exposure and, in turn, reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.


67. Tornado safety

It’s important for every job site to have an outlined safety plan in the event of a tornado threat. Practice tornado drills regularly and remind your team where to take shelter during a tornado.


What’s your next toolbox talk topic?

Keeping everyone on your job site informed, prepared and up to date on safety practices is critical to fostering a healthy, happy and accident-free workplace. Take advantage of this list of toolbox talk ideas and share them with your team during your next safety meeting.


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