Training Joins the Digital Age

Published 21/1, 2013

For close to a decade PDi has in each issue published columns from the different branch associations in our industries. For the key persons within the associations it is quite a challange to have something new to say in each issue of PDi. That is why we would like to try something different now where we welcome anyone to contributed under the title “Open Column”. There are no limitations of columns or subjects and the word is free. You will for sure receive message for the branch association too but not in ever issue. In our first column a well-known name starts out, John Woodward, former president of Institute of Demolition Engineers.

At least once a week, UK demolition operatives are required to attend an on-site briefing meeting known universally as a Toolbox Talk. These Toolbox Talks take place in the morning, usually last for 10 to 15mins, and cover a whole range of work-related topics from refresher tips on accident prevention and asbestos awareness, through to more job specific talks on what workers might encounter during the coming working day.
Despite the fact that they are a legal requirement and a key contributor to site safety, these Toolbox Talks face a number of key challenges. First, familiarity breeds contempt. Listening to the site manager repeating the same worn-out phrases, week in and week out, means that workers become distracted and do not, therefore, absorb the information provided. Secondly, site managers are not always the best communicators. In fact, since many have worked alongside their fellow workers previously in a like-for-like role, it can be hard for them to engage with their audience or to be taken seriously.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of all, consistency, can be an issue. Some weeks the Toolbox Talk might be accompanied by visuals or printed handouts, the next they might not. Sometimes they are delivered by a senior person that commands the respect and attention of the audience, and sometimes they are not.
That is why, later this month, C&D Consultancy will be launching a suite of 12 free Toolbox Talk videos. Professionally produced and kindly sponsored by ECY Haulmark, these new videos are designed to overcome the key Toolbox Talk challenges of authority, engagement and expertise.
Covering subjects as diverse as respiratory protective equipment, accident response, traffic management and other demolition related subjects, these videos will be available via YouTube, but will also be made available for free download later this month. Initially, all the videos are less than five minutes long, allowing them to be integrated into a contractor’s own regular Toolbox Talk programme. They are also available only in English at this time. However, it is hoped that future developments of the Toolbox Talk videos will see longer and more detailed films and, possibly, multi-language versions. In addition, we are hoping to produce further films based on specific contractor requests and will even brand these new videos with the contractor’s name and logo if required.
Full details of the talks and all of our demolition related training courses are available at
To pre-order your FREE Toolbox Talk video downloads, please email me at:

 John Woodward

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