Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC
Toolbox Talk Safety Discussion Guides

Toolbox Talks are short group discussions that teach workers about a safety topic.

Use these ready-to-use talks in daily meetings to remind employees about risks on the job and safe work procedures. Follow the simple discussion guides to engage your team in health and safety discussions on the job site.

Toolbox Talk
An angle grinder is a device with a rotating abrasive disc, used to grind, polish, or cut metal and other materials depending on the disc installed. They are typically used during metal fabrication and construction-type of work.
Toolbox Talk
The National Fire Protection Association describes arc flash as “a dangerous condition associated with the release of energy caused by an electric arc.” Arc flash is an accidental electrical explosion usually caused by a short circuit. It happens at higher voltages (around 300 volts and above) and causes electrical conductors to melt, creating a blast […]
Typical accidents involving grinders have included fingers caught in the machine’s components and eye and face injuries due to wheel disintegration, missing guards, or misadjusted parts. Using bench grinders correctly can prevent these serious injuries and fires.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas and is one of the leading causes of gas poisoning in North America. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels which you can find anywhere a fuel-powered engine operates.
WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) was created to protect workers from chemical exposure; however, many we can find many of the same chemicals used in the workplace in our homes. Although these household chemicals do not display the WHMIS symbols that you may be familiar with, they are just as dangerous and can cause […]
Toolbox Talk
Combustible dust is a solid material composed of distinct particles or pieces which present a fire hazard when suspended in air or some other oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations.
Recent fatalities involving confined spaces demand that these areas be given more attention to reduce risk of injury or loss of life. The three men died after entering a structure in an Abbotsford mushroom farm in September, 2008. Two were “rescuers”. They inhaled fatal doses of toxic fumes. Two other workers / “rescuers” were left […]
Conveyors replace manual transport processes to create more reliable, ergonomic, and organized operations. But with benefits also come hazards. New and young workers are regularly injured (injuries to hands, lacerations, fractured arms, amputated fingers, etc.) and even killed when working around or on conveyor systems. Conveyor systems can pull you into a machine extremely quickly.
Toolbox Talk
A crane makes lifting a lot easier for workers. But like any machine, it can introduce new hazards into the workplace. Operators must be qualified to operate a crane, demonstrate competency in the use of hand signals, and be qualified to rig the load they are lifting.
Toolbox Talk
A drill press is a machine for drilling holes, set on a fixed stand. Drill presses are generally electrically powered and can be either hardwired into the electrical circuit or plugged into an electrical outlet.
A hazard is a thing or condition that might expose someone to risk of injury or occupational disease. Risk defines the chance of that injury or illness occurring. A risk assessment is an overall process of identifying the hazard, assessing the risk, and controlling the hazards. There are two types of risk assessment processes: formal […]
Toolbox Talk
Most Canadians use electricity every day, both in the workplace and at home. However, we don’t often consider the hazards in our day-to-day activities associated with electricity or electrically powered equipment.
Fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and power outages — whatever the emergency is — it can happen without warning. Emergency preparedness ensures that when an emergency strikes, you have a plan ready to go, and are not scrambling last minute to get all your resources in order. An emergency preparedness and response plan is a document […]
Toolbox Talk
Ergonomics works to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries (MSI), including damage to muscles, bones or joints through designed workplaces, equipment, systems, and work. On average, MSI claims are 34% of all WorkSafeBC claims. From 2011 to 2020, that was an average of 17,891 claims per year.
Safety eyewear and face shields are the most common method used in industry to protect the eyes and face from injury. Safety eyewear is an essential piece of personal protective equipment (PPE), but all too often workers wear the wrong kind or even worse don’t wear it at all.
A fall protection system is components to support or suspend a worker at a worker point: A fall restraint system A fall arrest system Work procedures that minimize the risk of injury to a worker from a fall These include guardrail systems, travel-restraint systems, safety net systems, and fall-arrest systems.
Fall protection is your lifeline to protect you from serious injury or death in the event of a fall. Damage to any of the equipment will reduce its effectiveness and increase the chance of failure which can lead to serious injury or death.
Fatigue is feeling tired weary from sleep, mental or physical work, or stress. Boring repetitive tasks can increase feelings of fatigue. Fatigue is either acute or chronic.
In the workplace, fire extinguishers are tools, and it is essential to train any worker who might need to use one in their safe operation. Fire extinguishers are also good safety equipment for the home and car.
Inspecting and maintaining your fire extinguishers is critical so that they are read and available for use when they are needed.
We provide first aid in the workplace when a person needs treatment to preserve their life and minimize the consequences of an injury or illness until medical help is available. First aid also treats minor injuries and illnesses that do not require medical intervention.
Toolbox Talk
Forklifts are an underrated hazard that exists in most food processing and manufacturing companies. The reason that we have specific regulations for forklift training and certification is that forklifts have caused more fatalities than all other mobile equipment combined. The reason for the complacency around forklifts is that they are compact and their rear-wheel steering […]
Grey fleet refers to a personal vehicle driven for work purposes. In most cases, you are responsible for maintenance and insurance for this vehicle. Your employer might reimburse you for mileage.
Toolbox Talk
A hand drill is a tool used for making holes or driving fasteners. It can be either hand-powered or more commonly today powered by either electricity or air. It is very portable and can come in a wide range of sizes. This toolbox talk topic will deal with powered hand drills that are electrically powered.
Toolbox Talk
Hands are essential for work, yet hand injuries are one of the most common injuries in the workplace. Hands are injured by dull cutting tools, jagged edges, and sharp objects. Most hand injuries are preventable. Injuries happen when workers are rushed, not wearing PPE, using equipment without guarding, or poor supervision and training.
Every day we encounter hazards. Some are easily identified but others may be difficult to identify. A hazard is something that puts a worker at risk of injury or occupational disease. Hazards can also damage equipment and property, increase insurance premiums and lead to serious injury or death.
“Noise” is unwanted sound. The psychological effects of noise is that it can startle you, annoy you, and disrupt your concentration. Physiological effects include loss of hearing. Severe exposure to noise can cause pain and even nausea. Noise can also affect communications which interferes with both job performance and your safety.
Toolbox Talk
Hot work is work that creates sparks or a flame (i.e. tiger torch), or a fire that must be monitored after being extinguished.
Hot work involves burning, welding, riveting, grinding, using fire or spark-producing tools, or other work that creates a source of ignition. We do not want our hot work to ignite combustible and flammable materials.
An incident investigation is a process that analyses an incident to identify the unsafe acts and conditions that lead to the incident in order to develop control measures to prevent the recurrence of the incident.
Storage racks are common in industry. Racks used to store materials have inherent risks. Poor maintenance can result in serious injuries and death. Ensure your storage racks are correctly designed, installed, used, and maintained. Understand the hazards of racking to prevent incidents, injuries, lost time, and costs.
A joint health and safety committee (JHSC) is a team  of worker and employer representatives working together to identify and help resolve occupational health and safety issues at their workplace.
Toolbox Talk
Cut injuries in the Manufacturing, food processing, wine making, brewing and distillery industries occur primarily through the use of knives, cleavers and slicing equipment. Cut injuries are one of the leading causes of injuries in abattoirs, fish, poultry and meat processing operations, as well as hospitality tasting rooms associated with the beverage industries.
Toolbox Talk
Fall injuries are a major source of injury in BC both at home and at work. Most of these falls could be avoided with the application of some simple ladder safety work procedures.
Leadership allows leaders to influence to achieve a quality that inspires and attracts people to follow and demonstrates that a leader acts on the cause. A strong and visible leadership can help prevent accidents, injuries, and other risks. It also helps create a high standard of safety management and health.
Toolbox Talk
Lockout/tagout is a safety practice. Dangerous machinery is shut off and can’t be started again before maintenance work is done. Lockout/tagout protects workers from serious injury or death while working on equipment.
All machines have potential hazards that can result in injury – or even death – to workers. Machine guarding is an important safety measure to protect workers. Make machine safeguarding the topic of your next Toolbox Talk with our conversation guide and safety facts.
Toolbox Talk
We lift, handle, and carry objects as part of work and our daily living. There is no legal threshold limiting what weight you can lift. At what point have you decided that lifting a specific item by yourself would NOT be a good idea? Have you ever been taught the right way to lift a load? Do you know the dos and don’ts for lifting?
Manual materials handling is handling items by lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, holding, or restraining. It is the most common cause of occupational fatigue and lower back injuries. Three quarters of Canadians whose job includes manual handling suffer from back injury at some point. Many are unable to return to their jobs and some are […]
The workplace can be an essential factor to maintain positive mental health – but it can also be a stressful environment that contributes to mental health issues. When our mental health starts to deteriorate, it can be hard to enjoy life like we used to. The total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian […]
A musculoskeletal injury (MSI) is an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue, including a sprain, strain, and inflammation, which may be caused or aggravated by work. Well-known MSIs include sprains and strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, trigger finger, white finger diseases, and epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
Toolbox Talk
Pallet jacks, scissor lifts, aerial lift platforms, forklifts, and other equipment are used in manufacturing. Safe use of this equipment includes pedestrian safety. Workers are at risk when they are near mobile equipment. Operators and pedestrians need to be aware of hazards and safety tips when working near mobile equipment.
Toolbox Talk
In the manufacturing sector, many serious injuries are the result of hand held power tools. The list includes portable circular saws, routers, hand grinders, reciprocating saws and jig saws. These tools are very versatile and as a result are frequently used in tight quarters, on ladders, and for shaping and sizing small pieces where the […]
Toolbox Talk
A saw is a tool with a blade used for cutting material such as wood, metal, floor tiles, etc. They can be either manually operated (e.g., hack saw) or power operated using electricity or compressed air (e.g., circular saw). This toolbox talk will deal with powered saws.
Toolbox Talk
Improperly rigged and secured loads may become off balance or fall—and rigging hardware can fail under excessive loads. The results can be catastrophic.
Storage racking is only designed to support a specific rated capacity of load and certain design of pallets. Using the wrong pallet or exceeding the rated capacity can cause damage and possibly cause the storage racking to collapse.
Toolbox Talk
All workers must wear footwear suitable to their work conditions and hazards, such as leather or rubber enclosed footwear with adequate ankle support. Many workplaces require safety footwear with a protective toe cap and sole protection to prevent injury from nails or other sharp objects.
Scissor lifts are a relatively economical way to work at height safely and efficiently and as a result they are present on most medium to large workplaces, they are economical to rent so you even see them on small sites during projects. They are simple to operate, but because the operators are working at height, […]
Slips, trips, and falls are the third leading cause of recordable injuries across British Columbia and accounted for 12% of all claims from 2016 to 2020, with 32,7983 claims. Reported slips, trips, and falls may represent only
a fraction of the total incidents in the workplace if workers do not report falls when no injury occurs.
Driving in aisleways and racking systems, loading, and unloading pallets from racking systems, etc. require additional skills for forklift operators. It's important to take measures to ensure that the forklift operators do not strike or damage the racking system—and potentially cause injury.
A supervisor is someone who instructs, directs, and controls workers in the performance of their duties. You do NOT have to have the title supervisor in your job description to be a supervisor. A journeyman, lead hand,  manager, director, or coordinator could have responsibilities that required instructing, directing, and controlling workers.
Toolbox Talk
When dealing with hazardous products in Canada (in-use, handling, storage) you need a WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) program. WHMIS is aligned with the GHS – the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. This is a global program developed by the United Nations.
The Workers Compensation Act (Act) and its related Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (Regulation) outline the roles and responsibilities of employers, workers, supervisors, and the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).
Toolbox Talk
Working alone or in isolation means working where there is no readily available assistance in case of emergency. A worker does not have assistance that is readily available in case of emergency, injury, or ill health.
Toolbox Talk
How do I determine what I need to do to ensure my worker has assistance available to them when working alone or in isolation? To make a proper determination, you must do a risk assessment to answer some basic questions.
Workplace bullying and harassment are behaviours that hurt, threaten, or frighten another person and can take many forms. Bullying and harassment can happen in any workplace, even if it’s not always obvious. This toolbox talk will help supervisors and managers begin the discussion with staff around recognizing and identifying workplace bullying and harassment.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require that workplaces have regular inspections. Employers must ensure regular inspections of all workplaces – including buildings, grounds, tools, equipment, machinery, and work practices to prevent unsafe working conditions from developing.
The Internal Responsibility System (IRS) is the underlying philosophy of occupational health and safety legislation in Canada. The key to the IRS is that everyone in the workplace is responsible for his or her own safety, as well as for the safety of others in the workplace. To ensure a safe workplace, there must be a partnership between the employer and the employees.
Toolbox Talk
Radiation is simply energy that is in motion. It can travel either in waves or as particles through space or some other material medium. All matter, whether at rest or moving, has energy. X-rays are a form of high energy electromagnetic radiation. It has the potential to harm us, so it is important to receive […]
The JHSC brings workers and employers together to identify existing or potential health and safety hazards in the workplace.