Knives are necessary tools in many workplaces, and they are used daily in virtually every industry. Companies need them to get boxes opened, materials cut and to perform general maintenance tasks. So, it is essential that your employees understand how to use knives correctly, and that they follow safety rules in every situation, so they don’t get hurt. One wrong move or one bad choice could turn disastrous in an instant. Arming your team with the following universal knife safety tips will help educate them on knife safety, increase their confidence while working and decrease the chances that they will accidentally get injured.
Use the Right Tool for the Job
Every tool is unique and built for specific tasks. Therefore, there are right knives for a job, and there are also wrongs ones. Regular utility knives, scissors and retractable safety knives each have their intended purposes.
If you have questions about which kind of knife is best, enlisting the help of trained knife specialists will help answer them, and confirm that you are purchasing the correct tools for your company.
Here are some factors to consider when selecting the right safety knives:
Knife Blade – What kind of blade is appropriate for the job? Should it be firm or flexible? Does it need to be retractable?
Knife Edge – Do you need a fine edged blade for a smooth, clean cut? Would serrated blades be more effective?
Handle Size – Is the size of the knife’s handle large enough for a secure grip? If your employee can’t get a good hold, their hand could slip forward over the blade when they are cutting.
Handle Design – How often will your employees be using their knives? Is an ergonomic design important to alleviate injuries that repetitive movements could cause?
Material – What material is the knife made from? Your industry may determine what type you need. For example, if you are in the food and beverage industry, your knives must be made of a material that will not rust and is detectable with a metal detector.
When you have the right tools for the job, you are doing your part to ensure your team’s safety. Plus, having the appropriate tools also makes it easier for your employees to do their work and can increase their productivity.
- Train Employees on How to Cut Correctly
Once you have purchased your safety knives, the next step is to train your team on how to use them correctly. Each safety knife will have their specific safety instructions, but the following are general safety tips that your employees should adhere to when working with any knives.
- Never touch a knife’s blade.
- Only use knives for their intended purpose.
- Cut away from your body.
- Keep all fingers out of your cutting line.
- Use all personal protective equipment required (including gloves).
- Cut on a stable surface.
- Stay Focused
Accidents can occur when your employees are distracted. Therefore, it is crucial that they stay 100% focused while using knives. They should not attempt to multitask, skip safety steps to try to save time or act carelessly.
In addition to keeping their attention on the act of cutting while using knives, your employees also need to focus on protecting their bodies as well as their coworkers too.
For example, if one of your employee’s knives falls while they are using it, they need to let it fall to the ground without attempting to stop it. Trying to intercept a falling knife increases the likelihood that an injury will occur. Never toss or hand a knife to another person. Always set the knife down and let the other person pick it up to avoid injury.
- Keep Knives Well-Maintained and Properly Stored
When your employees use a dull knife, they must exert additional force each time they cut – and that can cause them to lose control. Therefore, keeping safety knives sharp and well-maintained is essential.
Get in the routine of inspecting your knives to look for potential safety hazards like dull knives or broken pieces.
Make sure to replace your knife blades when necessary and have extra knives on hand to replace broken or damaged ones. Employees should never have to use a damaged knife to finish a job, because a replacement isn’t available.
Dispose of old or broken knives correctly.
When employees leave used knives on countertops and other random areas, the risk of others coming in contact with them increases.
Discard all used blades in safe blade storage containers and establish designated blade changing stations throughout your workspace.
Having controlled and intentional places for your employees to dispose of and change their blades is another way to ensure their safety.
- Implement a Comprehensive Knife Safety Program
All of the universal safety tips listed above can help your team stay safe, no matter your industry. However, those tips alone are not enough.
Creating and implementing a comprehensive knife safety program is essential in making sure that your employees follow all of the proper safety procedures every time they use a knife.
A knife safety program will not only teach and train all your employees on how to use their tools properly, but it will also provide them with continuous training, so they will always be up-to-date.
Your knife safety program needs to be considered part of your company’s culture, if you want it to be successful. Plus, your leadership team needs to set a good example by following the rules too. It’s also imperative to instill correct safety practices right from the beginning (so bad habits do not become standard routines). WMHS
Martor USA is an established leader in the safety knife industry.