Tool Box Talks for Construction

All topics can be downloaded and printed and used as needed.
Please give credit when appropriate.
Tips for effective tool box talks.
This page is maintained by Rich Blackwell Consulting LLC. 
Please send comments, question or concerns to

CPWR Toolbox Talks: Now en Español - CPWR's 52 toolbox talk series is now available in Spanish, alongside their English-language counterparts on the CPWR website, thanks to a collaborative effort with The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). This series, a collaboration in content development with NIOSH, has been available in English for just over two years and is widely used on construction sites across the country.

Access to Scaffolds - Getting to the work level of a scaffold has always been a serious problem. Workers, when not provided with a proper stairway or ladder, might be tempted to use crossbraces to climb the scaffold.

Recognize the Warning Signs - In an effort to decrease the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace, OSHA developed two standards on safety color-coding and specifications for accident prevention signs and tags.

Eye Protection - The Importance of Eye Protection. The majority of work-related eye injuries are a result of flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye.

Falling Object Protection - The OSHA fall protection rule also covers falling object protection.

GHS Pictograms - OSHA has updated the hazard communication (HazCom) standard to include the Globally Harmonized System.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) - Overview
Nearly 350,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest each year. Currently, the chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) without the aid of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) are one in twenty.

Face protection is required by OSHA where there is a reasonable probability of preventing injury when such equipment is used. Employers must provide a type of protection that is suitable for the work being done.

Hand Protection - We all use our hands a great deal without really thinking about it. Because we use our hands so much at work, for a variety of tasks, they can become injured.

Foot Protection - What features make safety shoes different from regular “street” shoes? Basically, they are designed to protect the foot and toes in areas most likely to be injured. There are many different types and designs of protective footwear.

Respond Safely to Emergency Releases - The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, 29 CFR 1910.120, training requirements covers individuals who respond to emergencies.

Violence in the workplace - Violence in the workplace is a growing threat for businesses of all sizes and all over.

Feel Good About Ergonomics - Every year, thousands of American workers are disabled by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Jobs that expose workers to excessive repetitive motion, force, awkward postures, contact stress, or vibration are a major cause of this problem.

Slips can be caused by wet surfaces, spills, or weather hazards like ice or snow. Slips are more likely to occur when you hurry or run, wear the wrong kind of shoes, or don’t pay attention to where you’re walking.

Behavior- Based Safety - There are many different views of behavior-based safety. Some consultants’ concepts are based on research; some are based on common sense. Some say behavior-based safety is all you need; others say it’s only part of the safety effort needed. Some say reinforcement is the answer; others say there are not enough opportunities for reinforcement in the workplace.

Lightning Safety - The U.S. lightning season is summer but lightning can strike year round! The July is historically one of the most deadly times of the year for lightning. Thunderstorms and lightning are most likely to develop on hot, humid days.

Noise? What Noise? Construction sites are noisy places, especially during certain phases of a project. However, you don't have to accept hearing loss as a cost of working at construction sites.

Avoiding Electric Shocks - Electrical hazards can be found in all industries. Avoiding electrical shocks both at home and at work requires awareness of the hazards and a respect for this "Silent Killer."

OSHA Responsibilities and Rights - OSHA is responsible for establishing rules, regulations, and practices that help keep us all safe at work. Under these rules, employees have certain rights and responsibilities in regard to workplace safety.

Effects of Alcohol - The purpose of this toolbox talk is to provide some basic information and to increase the level of awareness to focus on this as a potential safety issue on the job.

OSHA Fatal Facts - Fatal Facts describe cases that are representative of employers who failed to identify and correct hazardous working conditions leading to fatalities at their worksites. The documents offer ideas on how to correct these hazards and educate workers about safe work practices.

5 Keys to Safe Driving - Key #1 - Aim High Steering, Key #2 - Get the Big Picture, Key #3 - Keep Your Eyes Moving, Key #4 - Leave Yourself an Out, Key #5 - Make Sure They See You

What is good housekeeping? - covers: Walking Areas, Metal Bands and Gusset Plates.

Winter Driving Safety - Driving habits need to change once the winter driving season is upon us. Please keep the following in mind when it comes to driving during the winter.

Seven Common Causes of Incidents - Consider this statistic: 80 out of every 100 incidents are the fault of the person involved in the incident. Unsafe Acts cause four times as many incidents & injuries as unsafe conditions.

Safety Training & Education - Good construction site safety not only protects your company's assets, it also protects you, your tools, and your job. You are an important player in job site safety. The simplest of tasks such as: placing trash where it belongs, coiling up extension cords when they are not being used, and stacking lumber out of the way, may seem unimportant and unnecessary, until someone gets hurt.

Back Injuries - In construction, 25% of injuries are back injuries. Construction has the highest rate of back injuries of any industry, except transportation. Every year, a back injury causes 1 in 100 construction workers to miss work — usually missing about 7 workdays, but sometimes more than 30. Most of the back problems are low-back injuries. Repeated injury to your back can cause permanent damage and end your career.

Cold Stress - Covers: Frostbite, Hypothermia, Symptoms, First Aid Treatment and Protective Measures.

Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) Lane Closures - In setting up temporary traffic control (TTC), there are a few issues to keep in mind.

Employer Guide to Forklift Liability in the Workplace - OSHA sets out a comprehensive set of standards for training, maintenance, and operation of forklifts.

Workplace Violence - What is workplace violence? How can workplace violence hazards be reduced? What is the process if I witness or experience workplace violence?

Be Aware of Lockout / Tagout - OSHA statistics show that six percent of all deaths in the workplace result from the unexpected activation of a machine or other piece of equipment during maintenance or other servicing. In addition, more than 25,000 work days are lost each year because of injuries in similar situations.
OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout regulation, 29 CFR 1910.147, requires employers to develop procedures for isolating energy sources when servicing or maintaining their equipment and machinery. The purpose of the standard is to prevent injuries from the unexpected release of energy.

Machine Guarding Overview - Machine guards are your first line of defense against injuries caused by machine operation. Each machine must have adequate safeguards to protect operators from the machine's hazards.

Power Tool Safety - Failing to properly use and maintain electric-powered tools causes thousands of cuts, punctures, pinches, amputations, and electrocutions each year. Tools can seriously injure or kill the user if not properly maintained or used.

Fall Protection Overview - Falls are the leading cause of construction worker fatalities. Each year between 150 and 200 workers die and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls at construction sites. Special trade contractors, such as roofers, carpenters, and structural steel erectors, accounted for half of the fatal falls. Knowing and implementing the following rules will help protect you from such a fall.

Back Injury Prevention - Who has not heard the basics of back injury prevention? At the same time, who has applied these principles to every day work? Many people understand the basics of safe lifting, but fail to perform these basic practices on a regular and consistent basis.

First Aid & Medical - On the job Tool Box Talks - First aid supplies and other medical services must be available at your jobsite. The minimum OSHA requirements are listed in this article.

Confined space Handout - The OSHA definition of a confined or enclosed space for construction activities is a space that: • Has limited means of getting out, and • Is subject to the accumulation of toxic or flammable gases or has an oxygen deficient atmosphere.

Eye Protection  -  It can only take a moment for you to lose your sight. Because of workplace hazards, OSHA requires that employers supply appropriate eye protection. However, the employee must take responsibility and use the personal protective equipment (PPE) that is provided. However, eye injuries can be prevented if you use proper eye protection and maintain that eye protection.

Hazard Communication - Know the Hazard Communication Standard For one out of every four workers, contact with hazardous chemicals happens every day. It’s important that you know and understand OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. This standard is also commonly known as “HazCom” or the “Right to Know” law.

Heat - When your body is unable to cool itself through sweating, serious heat illnesses may occur. The most severe heat-induced illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If actions are not taken to treat heat exhaustion, the illness could progress to heat stroke and you could possibly die.

OSHA Heat Safety App for Apple & Android - When you're working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it - right on your mobile phone. More than 200,000 users have downloaded the OSHA Heat Safety Tool since its launch in 2011. This spring, OSHA released a new version of the app for Apple devices, with full-screen color alerts, improved navigation and accessibility options. Continued in next frame.

OSHA Heat Safety App Continued: This improved version lets you know instantly if you are in a high-risk zone due to heat and humidity and precautions that need to be taken to prevent heat-related illness. The recently updated app gives users important safety information when and where they need it -- right on their mobile phones. Download this life-saving app today. Search OSHA Heat Safety Tool on your Iphone, Ipad or Android Device. Or go to:

Handling Gasoline - Please use caution when handling. Gasoline is extremely dangerous, and here is why:

Emergency Action Plan - There is always the potential for emergencies to occur at your facility. To reduce your exposure to potential emergencies, your employer has developed an emergency action plan. Emergency actions plans are developed to provide guidelines on what actions to take if an emergency should occur at your facility.

Fireworks Safety - OSHA reminds employers to protect workers from dangers of handling fireworks - In preparation for July 4th celebrations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging employers in the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to protect their workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events.

Driving Safety Tips - Let’s take a second to take a look back and refresh our memory about some basic driver safety tips.

Routes of Entry - Working with chemicals always involves the risk of exposure. The health risk is dependent upon the toxicity of the chemical, the types of effects and the various routes of entry.

Using Respirators When Not Required - Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn.

Hazard Communication Standard Enforcement Begins June 1, 2015 - Are you ready for the new safety data sheet (SDS) requirements? Failure to properly provide or respond to new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information could open the door to an OSHA inspection and enforcement activities, including citations and significant penalties for violating the Hazard Communication Standard 2012 (HCS 2012) (29 CFR 1910.1200).

Lift Safely - Sprains and strains to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the back are common injuries that are often avoidable. Be aware of the causes of back injuries and your lifting limitations. Back injuries don’t just happen at work; they can happen at home, or while you’re out having fun.

Hand and Portable Powered Tool Safety - It’s easy to pick up and use a tool without stopping to think about its hazards. It is difficult to remember that tools pose hazards, and sometimes accidents occur before steps can be taken to avoid or eliminate those hazards. The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees, including tools and equipment which may be furnished by employees

Exits are Your Key to Safety - All buildings must have a way of allowing occupants fast exit to the outside or a safe place of refuge in case of an emergency.

Safety: The Universal Language? Literacy and Language Challenges in the Workplace.

Fire Prevention Plan - A fire is one of the costliest accidents a business can have. Even more costly is the death and injury toll from fires and explosions.

OSHA Inspection Procedures - a summary of the O.S.H.A. inspection process and the procedures that should be followed by all personnel during an inspection.

Whole Body Vibration - Adverse affects of whole body vibration range from simple fatigue to motion sickness, low back pain, degeneration of the lumbar spinal system and herniated disks.

Drugs & Alcohol on the Job - All of us know that certain drugs are illegal, and that drinking or drug use can lead to both physical and mental impairment, and also that state and federal laws prohibit or regulate the use of drugs and alcohol.

Construction Equipment Dangers - Construction Equipment used on construction jobs often creates dangerous conditions. This week's Tail Gate Safety Topic examines a few situations which should be watched for at all times.

Carbon Monoxide CO - Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware of your exposure. 

Floor and Wall Openings  - OSHA has very specific rules on guarding floor and wall openings and holes, to protect employees from falling and injuring themselves, and to prevent accidental drops of tools or equipment to injure workers below.

Slips, Trips and Falls - Slips, trips and falls is the number 1 reason for an industrial injury in the United States. Thousands of disabling injuries—and even deaths—occur each year as a result of slips, trips, and falls.

Safety on a New Jobsite -  It's important for you to remember that most accidents are caused by carelessness or thoughtlessness--yours, or someone else on the job.

Heating - Temporary heating devices are essential equipment during the winter months of the year, when working on construction sites can get very uncomfortable and cold.

Facts about Noise - Noise hazard depends on the level (sometimes called intensity) of the noise, its duration, and how often the exposure occurs. 

Incident Prevention - The experts say at least 80% of industrial accidents are caused by unsafe acts on the part of employees--and not by unsafe conditions.

Literacy and Language Challenges in the Workplace - As the American “melting pot” becomes increasingly diver sified, employers face inevitable issues related to language in the workplace. Employers can no longer assume that qualified workers speak or write English.

Physical & Health Hazards for Construction - Be aware that every chemical substance you handle during the day, whether it is a liquid, solid, vapor, or dust, could cause you great harm if you aren’t protected. Your first line of defense is knowing what each chemical can do to you physically and how it can affect your health. With that knowledge tucked under your toolbelt, you can take correct precautions.

Ladder Accident Causes - Accidents involving ladders are very common. Most of these accidents could have been avoided with proper ladder use. While a ladder is a very basic necessity and seems easy to use, it is often one of the most misused and abused pieces of equipment we see during site inspections.

Trenching and Excavation - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the United States between 2000 and 2009, 350 workers died in excavation or trench collapses. Trenching operations usually include water, sewer, pipeline, communications or power line construction. One study indicated 64% of fatalities occurred in excavations of less than 10 feet (3 meters). In addition to collapses, trenching operation hazards include: falls ; falling objects from above and hazardous atmospheres.

The Deadly Dozen - We all know that there must be a cause for an accident to happen. In order to avoid accidents, we must remove the cause. Every cause is a result of an unsafe act or unsafe condition. By recognizing the unsafe act or condition, we can effectively remove the exposure to them. The following “deadly dozen” are reminders to help you recognize unsafe acts or conditions.

Tool Box Talks for Construction