Toolbox Talk: Knife Safety

Frequently we have a need to use knives and other cutting tools in our jobs, as well as at home. We cut bindings off boxes of paper. We cut seafood, meat or poultry. We open containers of all sorts. We cut ropes, cloth and various materials and adapt them to our use. But we don’t always do this safely.

Watch someone use a knife sometime and notice how often they risk being injured by cutting toward their body parts. You might see individuals hold a loaf of bread near their chest and cut toward themselves when slicing off a chunk. Sometimes when cutting a rope, we bend the rope into a loop and insert the knife into the loop facing upward. When the knife is drawn up through the rope, the force of the cutting action can bring it to the face or other body parts. This is not a good idea! An unwise but common use of box knives is to reach across the box and draw the knife toward you. This is foolish.

A Sharp Knife is a Safer Knife!

It takes less force to cut through an object with a sharp knife. This gives you greater control of the blade. When heavy force is applied, the blade often cuts deeper than intended–sometimes into your flesh. When someone tells you their knife is so dull it wouldn’t cut hot butter, don’t you wonder why they are still using it?

Hand and arm protection is also available for occupations that require the use of knives. Specialty gloves protect hands and arms from cuts and punctures. Smart workers wear this protection consistently.

The bottom line is to practice good knife safety:

  • Sharpen it or get rid of it!

  • Use the right knife for the job.

  • Wear cut-resistant gloves when appropriate.

  • Always cut away from you, and you’ll never cut yourself!

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