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Industry Insights


How effective is the traditional toolbox meeting?



Attention span today

In 2020 if you gain someone’s attention you are likely to hold it for 8 seconds. This applies to documents, conversations and meetings. The drier the content, the less likely you’ll have all 8 seconds to yourself.

In 2000 the average persons attention span was 12 seconds.

The reduction is not surprising when you consider that today the average adult is exposed to around 247 marketing messages each day.

Research by Nielson et al shows that people today do not read content, they skim through it, usually on a handheld device.

These findings have important implications for the ways in which safety messages are conveyed to labour hire and industrial employees.

Contemporary messaging methods

At a workplace level safety messaging occurs mainly through the written word  by way of manuals , safety guides and signage combined with verbal reinforcement at toolbox meetings.

In light of the short attention span of most people and their reliance on mobile devices when receiving information, there is a strong case for throwing out the traditional toolbox meeting and using alternate means to deliver content.

The effectiveness of  even a short 10 minute toolbox meeting may be questionable. There is a case for supplementing this mainstay of workplace safety messaging with other techniques.

A picture is worth a 1000 words

People process images much faster than text.

The use of compelling images and infographics  in safety messaging  can be highly effective in conveying critical safety information for worksites.

The City of Melbourne used it this technique to make commuters more alert around trams, hospitals use it to convey information to patients in waiting rooms, why can’t we implement this simple and effective technique into toolbox meetings?

What do the staff think
Well thought out infographics sent to mobile devices have been implemented and used recently by Quest Personnel to convey crucial information relating to Social Distancing

77% of our employees reported that they paid more attention to infographics and preferred this format when receiving information about workplace health and safety rather than a traditional onsite toolbox meeting.

98% of employees consumed this information outside of work hours or on their lunch break, reporting that this allowed them to take the information in better as they were not being pulled out of a task to talk about safety, they read the information on their own time.

The results show that infographics and infovideos have a lot of value to add in increasing the effectiveness of communicating safety with our industrial employees.

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