Toolbox Talk - Confined Spaces
This Toolbox Talk Guidance Note and Form is about Confined Spaces. A
confined space is a place which is substantially enclosed (though not
always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous
substances or conditions within the space or nearby (e.g. lack of oxygen).
They can include cellars, pits, tanks, drains, manholes, sewers and even
some types of excavation. Some are more obvious than others, but confined
spaces are more common on construction sites than often realised. The talk
covers what may be considered as a confined space on your site, lone
working, PPE, Permits to Work and rescue procedures.
The concept of Toolbox Talks is that a short talk is delivered to the
workforce approximately once a week, to remind them and update them on
health and safety issues. Here are some guidelines on how the talk should
Choice of Toolbox topic: choose a topic that is relevant to your audience;
there is little point in talking about office safety to a group of ground
workers. You could choose a talk related to an incident from the news;
something that happened on site recently; new work processes; hazards, or
in the absence of any particular circumstances, pick a talk from the list.
Location: The talk does not have to be given in an office; a mess-room or
workshop area will suffice. It does, however, need to be somewhere quiet
where you can hold a conversation easily.
Size of audience: Between 4 and 10 workers will be the most effective.
Duration: the duration should be limited to 10-15 minutes. Try not to
become side-tracked on other issues; choose your topic and stick to it. If
other issues are raised, consider them for the next talk.
Approach: Use a questioning approach, get the message across and listen to
the responses. Toolbox talks are not lectures and are designed to get
people to think and talk about Health, Safety and Environmental issues.
Think of them as a refresher course, reminding the workforce of what they
should already know.
- Try to generate interest in the topic with questions, such as “What are
the hazards from the incident described?” or “What precautions should be
taken in these circumstances?”
- Highlight some key words as a reminder to yourself
- Avoid just reading the notes on your topic.
Do not allow the group to get side tracked, if it is important and
relevant, allow a short discussion off topic then bring the discussion back
to the main issue.
Signatures: obtain signatures from all attendees to keep on file. A
signature list is attached to the Toolbox Talk document.