12 Things To Include In A Tailboard Safety Talk

Posted 9.07.24 by:

A team of managers work to set up a tailboard safety talk meeting for their teams. Learn about managing safety talks using digital tools at 1stReporting.com.

Running a tailboard safety talk meeting can be a bit of a challenge when you’ve got a hundred other things on your mind. That’s why it’s a wise idea to use a tailboard meeting template to ensure you’ve got everything you need on the agenda. However, if you don’t have a template, then it’s a gamble if you don’t know all the details you should include in the meeting.

A tailboard meeting begins with collecting attendees’ names and introducing yourself and the day’s safety, responsibilities, tasks, and more. This is followed by a sign-off after the meeting. However, you’ll also need to include many other points related to safety, task ownership, and PPE, as well as a question-and-answer period.

In this guide, we’ll get to the point and give you all the points you need to cover, no matter the topic. Don’t forget to bookmark this guide so you can refer back to it later when you need to make a new tailboard safety talk agenda. Let’s get right to it and get started.

Here’s What To Include in a Tailboard Safety Talk

Tailboard safety talk meetings (also called toolbox talks or job site safety and task meetings) are vital to construction and even to service industries like utility management. According to research on customizing construction toolbox talk templates, using a customized tailboard meeting template can help to improve collaboration and deliverability of appropriate safety concerns, task responsibilities, daily objectives, and more to improve safety. (1)

In the years of toolbox talk meetings I orchestrated and conducted, I found that twelve things really stand out to form a standardized, engaging, and comprehensive delivery. Here are the twelve elements that it would be best to include in your tailboard safety talk:

  1. Administrative Info and Opening Remarks

Include an administrative section where you put the date, time, time of meeting start and finish, list of attendees, and a brief introduction of the day’s objectives and tasks.

  1. Safety Topic of the Day
A construction yard showing multiple hazards. Construction teams benefit from tailboard safety talk meetings. Learn more at 1stReporting.com.
A construction site under a cloudy blue sky resonates with hazards. Tailboard meetings are more than a requirement; they could literally save someone’s life.

Highlight a specific safety topic relevant to the day’s work (e.g., working at heights, PPE usage, electrical safety).

Pro Tip: For those repeat hazard topics like working at heights that are best repeated throughout the work year, create templates so you can re-use the safety data for future tailboard safety meetings.

  1. Job Tasks and Responsibilities

Include a section with point form notes that include a detailed description of objectives, tasks, and responsibilities for the day. It would be best to assign each task to specific team members to ensure that the right person has ownership of their tasks. It is also an excellent place to review relevant procedures and standards.

  1. Hazard Identification

List potential hazards specific to the job site and tasks. You will want to review these hazards with the team. Remember to keep it brief so you can allow your team to comment and share. Ensure they participate in hazard identification; it’s a crucial step in accident prevention.

Discuss methods to mitigate identified hazards. Remember, participation is crucial, so ensure you are positively approaching having your team member’s voices heard.

Meeting Presentation Tip: Research shows that providing an appropriate narrative that includes discussion questions in your tailboard meetings provides a more significant impact on knowledge gain as well as an increased training impact. (2)

  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Confirm PPE requirements for the job’s daily tasks and responsibilities. Ensure all team members have and are wearing the correct PPE and have completed any PPE inspections required before starting their tasks. Specialized PPE, such as arc flash protection attire or fall restraints, should be inspected daily before use and must pass all regulatory requirements for safe operation.


  1. Emergency Procedures

Review emergency contact numbers and procedures with your team and ensure emergency numbers are posted in appropriate locations on site. Ensure everyone knows the location of first aid kits and emergency equipment as well as the nearest hospital/medical facility.

Discuss any specific emergency procedures that relate to the site or the day’s tasks. Remember to elicit feedback and discussion from your team. Like hazard identification and PPE, emergency procedures are critical, so you need to ensure that everyone takes part.


  1. Tools and Equipment

During your tailboard meeting, include information about the types of equipment expected for use and mention the appropriate pre-use inspection procedures related to the equipment. Briefly highlight any equipment challenges and seek input from the team to engage the discussion. Remember to include a discussion of the equipment’s hazards and safe operation.


  1. Environmental Considerations

The first part of addressing the environment is the site conditions. Rain, storms, wind, soft earth (from a previous night’s rain, for example), and other natural phenomena are essential to consider, especially if heavy equipment is in use.

On the flip side of the worksite’s environmental conditions is the work’s impact on the environment. If your team’s tasks for the day have the potential for environmental impact, ensure you include a brief discussion to address preventive measures and potential clean-up procedures.

  1. Communication Plan

One of the most important parts of the tailboard safety talk is addressing how your team can communicate concerns and what procedures they must follow. Here, you have an opportunity to gain insights into site conditions, safety points, and many other aspects of the job that can help you better manage the project and maintain the highest level of safety for your teams.

If your site will need to communicate with radios, hand signals, or other means, then ensure that you address those methods of communication at this point. Engage your team to ensure they understand because communication of risks and hazards is our first line of defense.

  1. Questions and Feedback

The last part of any good tailboard meeting format is to include a questions and feedback session to address any topics that have yet to come to light. In my experience, these meetings work best when you involve mini-discussions at each major point rather than making people wait until the end. That way, you maintain a higher level of engagement with your team, and it won’t feel like a lecture from their end.

Why Use a Digital Template for Your Tailboard Safety Meetings

Three safety officers discuss their upcoming tailboard meeting topics on the job site. Learn about tailboard meeting templates using digital reporting tools at 1stReporting.com.

Suppose there’s one piece of advice I can provide from my years of managing tailboard safety talk meetings. In that case, using a suitable template for your meeting can make it easier for you for a few reasons. First, it provides a repeatable format, so your team will feel comfortable knowing the basic meeting format. Second, it makes it easier for you to set up your meetings, especially considering that if you have a meeting each day, that’s five meetings every week – so having an organized means of managing topics is essential. A digital form used as a template for your safety meetings makes it easy to scale, so it works now and will work long into the future.

Research shows that multiple industries, from construction to highway maintenance, benefit from toolbox (tailboard) safety talk interventions. Digital tailboard safety talk templates make presentations more effective and provide a standardized framework that encourages engagement and information retention. (3)

Digital forms don’t get wet, they don’t have poor handwriting, and there are no smudges of concrete, oil, or other materials picked up by working crews in the field. 

But best of all, digital tailboard templates on a robust system like the 1st Reporting app enable your team to pull up and review the meeting information from anywhere using a mobile device. However, you control who has access. You control building custom forms, so you can use the application for just about anything where a mobile form would be of convenience to you and your team. With secure cloud storage, your digital tailboard template and other forms are kept available. Yet, they are safe and secure to only those you provide access to. 

Bringing It All Together for a Better Tailboard Safety Talk

Incorporating these twelve elements into your tailboard safety talks will streamline your meetings and enhance their effectiveness. By ensuring all critical points are covered, you’ll not only improve safety but also foster better communication and collaboration within your team. Remember, using a digital template like the one provided by the 1st Reporting app can make this process even more efficient and accessible.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below to share your experiences or any additional tips you have for conducting compelling tailboard safety talks. Ready to take your safety meetings to the next level? Try the 1st Reporting app today and see the difference it can make.

Article Sources

  1. Kaskutas, Vicki, Lisa Jaegers, Ann Marie Dale, and Bradley A Evanoff. 2016. “Toolbox Talks: Insights for Improvement.” Professional Safety None: 33–37. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9434703/.
  2. Eggerth, Donald E, Brenna M Keller, Thomas R Cunningham, and Michael A Flynn. 2018. “Evaluation of Toolbox Safety Training in Construction: The Impact of Narratives.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine 61 (12): 997–1004. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22919.
  3. Zamaan Al-Shabbani, Roy Sturgill, and Gabriel Dadi. 2020. “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Toolbox Talks on Safety Awareness among Highway Maintenance Crews.” Construction Research Congress 2020, November. https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784482872.024.

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