Caterpillar toolbox talks – which cover equipment, attachments, personal safety, and jobsite-wide hazards – are essential to managing safe jobsites with Caterpillar construction equipment.
Safety on the jobsite is always your first goal. You want to make sure your team can go home after a long day’s work without injury or incident, but in your fast-paced environment, it may be easy to overlook a topic you should discuss.
Caterpillar Toolbox Talks start conversations about safety and help your employees stay out of harm’s way—and stay focused on the task at hand, too. Below are some tips to keep you and your team safe and productive on the jobsite.
What is a Caterpillar Toolbox Talk?
A Caterpillar toolbox talk is a short discussion between you and your employees about how to safely manage and execute and work day’s actionable tasks. Toolbox talks can be hosted at any time, but many construction companies schedule morning meetings or lunches for toolbox talks.
Incorporating Toolbox Talks into your daily crew meeting with your crews can ensure they stay safe and incident-free throughout their work day. Whether at the start of the day or during shift changes, it’s crucial to outline each of the hazard-prone elements of your employees’ work day by covering four main topics: equipment, attachments, personal safety and jobsite-wide concerns.
These conversations are usually less formal than dedicated safety meetings but no less critical; instead of just reciting rules, you use real-life examples to inspire your employees and outline the potential hazards that lie ahead. As with every task on a construction site, practice makes perfect—you’ll get better at holding effective toolbox talks over time.
It’s important to give yourself room for error; don’t feel bad if your first toolbox talk doesn’t have as much impact as you’d hoped! When done effectively, these talks will help you build a safe and comfortable culture across your entire jobsite.
1) Equipment Safety Caterpillar Toolbox Talks
Equipment safety is a major concern on construction job sites. Machinery like forklifts and generators are extremely dangerous in inexperienced hands. That’s why it’s critical for you as a safety professional to sit down with your employees and discuss proper usage of this and other pieces of hazardous equipment.
These machines are also dangerous in inexperienced hands—and it’s up to you as a supervisor to ensure that all of your employees know how to use them safely. It’s vital that every person on your team understands how heavy equipment is operated and is trained in safe operational procedures.
The sooner your certified crew members have a firm understanding of how to safely operate equipment, the fewer the injuries and incidents.
Some of the most common Caterpillar toolbox talks dedicated to equipment include:
- Battery Care and Tips
- Entering and Exiting the Cab of Your Machine
- Extending Tire Life
- Machine – 6 S’s
- Machine – Before Operations
- Machine – Emergency Equipment
- Machine – Footing
- Machine – Overhead Power Line Contact
- Machine – Parking On Slope
- Machine – Roll-Overs
- Machine – Stalled Engine
- Machine – Submersion
- Machine – Tire Failure
- Machine Safety Drive Train Failure
- Mining Safety Tips-How to Clean Large Equipment Windshields
- Mount Dismount
- Operator Visibility Around Heavy Equipment
- Pre-Shift Inspections
- Refueling Equipment
- Seat Belt
- Welding on Machines with Electronic Controls
2) Attachments Caterpillar Toolbox Talks
Caterpillar Toolbox Talks dedicated to attachments are a great way to review safety with hand-held tools, knives, ladders, scaffolding, water pumps, and more. This may seem like an easy area to skip or gloss over to prioritize the more obviously hazardous topics like heavy machinery, but the reality is that when not handled properly, tools and attachments can cause just as much harm as anything else.
That’s why it’s absolutely essential to dedicate time with your crew covering the do’s and don’ts of construction attachments during your Caterpillar toolbox talk. All it takes is one thoughtless crew member mishandling one small tool that could create untold hazards for those around them. As always, the devil is in the details, so make sure no stone goes unturned when covering the topics for your daily Caterpillar toolbox talk.
Specific attachment-related Caterpillar toolbox talks include:
- Hand-Held Tool Safety
- Knife Safety
- Portable Generators
- Portable Ladders
- Quick Coupler Safety
- Water Pumps
3) Personal Safety Caterpillar Toolbox Talks
These Caterpillar Toolbox Talks give your employees personal safety skills they can use every day. Our recommended and regularly scheduled topics are great for all employees, but are especially critical for workers in high-risk environments—such as active jobsites or facilities with lots of heavy machinery—and new workers who may not be fully aware of how best to protect themselves.
Personal Safety Toolbox Talks include First Aid, Confined Space Entry, Airborne Pathogens and more. You’ll find them all in the Personal Safety section of the Caterpillar website. For times when you want to reinforce specific safety topics—or when you need a quick refresher on a topic that doesn’t require an entire talk—you can choose from hundreds of Caterpillar toolbox talk safety topics over on their website.
Some of the most common personal safety topics include:
- Avoiding Respiratory Hazards
- Back Protection
- Building a Safety Culture
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Chain Sling Inspection
- Cold Weather Preparations
- Common Safety Mistakes
- Concrete & Rebar
- Cost of an Accident
- Diesel Fuel
- Electrical Safety
- Ergonomic Safety
- Eye & Face Protection
- Fall Protection
- Fatigue Avoidance
- Foot & Leg Protection
- Grinders and Abrasive Saws
- Hand & Arm Safety
- Hand-Arm Vibration
- Head Protection
- Hearing Protection
- Heat Exhaustion or Stroke
- High Pressure Air
- Housekeeping and Organization
- Lightning Strikes
- Machine Guarding
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Pinch Points
- Preventing Occupational Illness
- Respiratory Protection
- Rigging Safety Practices
- Safe Use of Cell Phones
- Safety Belts and Fall Arrest Systems
- Shop Safety Tools – Water Pressure
- Slips, Trips and Falls
- Staying Safe In Hot Weather
- Unsafe Acts vs. Unsafe Conditions
- Using Personal Fall Arrest Systems
4) Jobsite Caterpillar Toolbox Talks
These succinct, easy-to-follow safety talks are perfect for ensuring your team members are on board with important safety procedures across your entire jobsite. Whether it’s a new hire or a seasoned veteran of 20 years, each member of your team needs to know every safety-prioritized best practice on the jobsite as well as how to respond in case an emergency situation arises.
Jobsite Caterpillar Toolbox Talks cover a wide breadth of general but essential construction safety information, including clear instructions for digging, confined spaces, fire prevention, protecting the public, spill response, and so much more. This is the most valuable library of content for any safety manager or director looking for every major Caterpillar toolbox talk they might need.
Just a few of the most prominent toolbox talks featured on the Jobsite page of Caterpillar’s website include:
- 811 Call Before You Dig
- A Healthy Worksite
- Aerial Work Platforms
- Confined Spaces
- Demolition Safety
- Excavations & Pits
- Fire Prevention & Extinguishing
- Fire Safety
- Hazard Assessment
- Hazard Recognition
- Lift Truck Safety
- Machine – Power Lines
- Mining Safety Tips-How to Control Open Pit Traffic
- Mining Safety Tips-How to Improve Safety With Signs
- Mining Safety Tips-How to Keep Drivers In Their Cabs
- Mobile Equipment
- Near Misses
- New Work Sites
- Plants & Wildlife
- Protecting The Public
- Reducing Noise In The Cab
- Responding To Emergency
- Safer Work Zones
- Safety Around Degreasing Solvents
- Safety Around High Voltage
- Spill Response
- Suspended Loads
- Top Four Construction Hazards
- Transporting a Machine
- Trench Shields
- Work Zone
- Work-Zone Traffic
No matter how many policies you write or how many rules you implement, they mean nothing if your team doesn’t know about them. That’s why toolbox talks play an essential role in keeping your crew safe.
By introducing your safety policies in an interactive way and continuing that discussion with future conversations about company standards and procedures, your team will have a much better understanding of what it takes to keep yourself and others out of harm’s way.
PLEASE NOTE: While our toolbox talks are written by commercial construction professionals and based on their first-hand experience, always consult with your own safety director and supervisor about best practices on your jobsite. This content and any related pieces of content serve to advise, but are by no means a substitute for a dedicated safety team and jobsite-specific guidance. AnchoRock is not responsible for any violations, hazards, and accidents that occur as a result of any construction professional using this content as their sole means of direction.