Importance of Working Safely around Sharp Blades or Edges

Knives, cutting edges and blades can be useful and effective tools in our workplaces when used appropriately. If a cutting device is needed as a work tool, it must be:

1. Appropriate for the task
2. Kept in good condition (i.e. blade sharp, handle in good condition etc.)
3. Stored properly with other work tools
4. Not used for purposes it was not intended for

Preview below the “Common Causes of Knife Injuries” & the “Preventative Measures”.

Body part is put in the line of fire

Usually the hand holding the object being cut – think even in your kitchen when cutting a bagel in your hand or cutting a box top with the blade running toward instead of away from your body.

Do not cut towards yourself

Assess where the blade will go if it comes off or goes through the material being cut.

Handling the knife before or after the cut has been made

Picking up an unguarded knife, passing the knife to another worker.

Open blade knifes must be stored in sheaths

Utility knives must be stored with the blade
retracted, similarly always close scissors when
not in use.

Unstable object being cut

The object shifts or moves allowing the blade to slip.

Place the object being cut on a stable surface

Secure the object with a protected hand or holding device.

Dull blade

Excessive force required to compensate for the dull cutting edge.

Keep blades sharp

Replace or sharpen blades when they become dull.

Wrong tool

A knife was not the tool for the task.

Choose the right cutting tool for the task.

A knife should not be used as a pry bar, can opener, chisel, punch, scraper or screwdriver.

Always report to your supervisor or manager if you are injured by a knife, cutting edge or blade and complete an incident report. Knives, cutting edges and blades are extremely handy on the job, but they can also be handy in causing serious injuries.

Source: DJ Fennell, Imperial Oil Resources

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Work safe.  Home safe.  Every day.