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Posted on: January 16, 2017 By: Trevor Atherton, Safety Mgr

Knife Safety

Knives are a tool we use every day.  When used correctly they are very valuable, but when used incorrectly they become a very serious hazard.  Up to one-third of all hand tool injuries occur while using utility knives, and it only takes a second of inattention to become severely Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talkinjured.  The following are a list of safety rules to prevent injuries when using a utility knife:

  • Before beginning a task with a utility knife determine the correct blade for the task at hand by asking the following questions:  Is this the appropriate blade for the task?  What is the best type of blade edge for the task?  Is the handle of the knife large enough to have a secure grip?  Is the knife designed to reduce bending your wrist?
  • Always cut away from you body if possible.  To prevent laceration to yourself or others.
  • Be aware of where the knife will go if it accidentally slips.  Keep your other hand and fingers above the blade when cutting.  That way if the blade slips it will not lacerate your hand.
  • When not in use, store the knife with the blade retracted.  Do not leave a knife with the blade exposed on work surface, tool pouch or anywhere else.
  • Stay focused on the task at hand.  Do not be distracted by others working or talking around you.
  • Always use a sharp knife.  Sharper blades require less force and give you better control.  Some people think that a dull blade may be safer, but this is false.
  • Always secure material on a solid surface before cutting.  Do not try to cut materials while you are holding them.
  • Only use knives for their intended purpose, cutting.
  • Extend the blade only as far as need to cut through the material.  This will reduce the risk of breaking the blade.
  • If you drop your knife do not try to catch it.  Let it come to a complete stop before picking up.
  • Keep knives oiled and clean.
  • Only hold the knife by the handle.
  • Hand knives to others handle first, with the cutting edge away from you palm with the blade retracted.  Never throw knives to other employees.
  • Do not distract or startle someone who is using a knife.
  • Never point a knife at another employee.
  • Never chop or strike objects to try and cut them with a knife.
  • Clean your knife regularly and periodically lubricate.
  • Cut resistant or Kevlar gloves and safety glasses are required at all times while using utility knives.
  • A safety straight edge should be used whenever possible to reduce the risk of lacerations while using a utility knife.

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