Knife injuries often happen when the knife slips during cutting or trimming. In most cases the blade comes into contact with the worker’s other hand, causing a laceration to the hand and/or fingers. Injuries can also occur to other parts of the body, including the hand operating the knife.
The type of knife used and how it is handled, sharpened and maintained are very important to ensure worker safety and preventing injuries. The type of injuries that occur from the unsafe use of knives range from small nicks to serious disabling cuts.
Reasons for injuries
Utility knives are common tools in many workplaces. Many accidents involving utility knives occur for the following reasons:
It’s important for workers to use the proper size blades or replace defective retraction mechanisms. Some companies use self-retracting utility knives – the blade automatically retracts into the handle when not in use.
Precautions to remember
Problems also arise when some employees don’t have or can’t find a utility knife supplied by the company. As a result, they tend to use whatever is handy, such as a pocket knife or other tool with a sharp edge. This can quickly turn hazardous if the tool slips or is used incorrectly.
There are some safety precautions to keep in mind when using utility knives:
Avoid dull knives
OSHA says using a dull knife is one of the most common mistakes. According to OSHA, using a dull knife will cause you to use greater force, which increases your chance of several kinds of injury, such as cuts, amputations, stabbing wounds into your leg, arm or body, and increasing joint and nerve pain from repetitive motions that can be a warning sign of permanent crippling injury. Using dull knives also makes work much more difficult, slow and inefficient.