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Knife Safety

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We frequently have a need in the workplace and at home to use knives. We cut binding off boxes of paper. We open containers and cut meat products, ropes, material, etc. However, we don’t always do this safely. Observe someone using a knife, and note how often that person risks being injured by cutting towards him or herself. For example, when cutting a loaf of bread, it is common for a person to hold the bread near his chest and cut toward his body when slicing. Sometimes when cutting a rope, we bend the rope into a loop and insert the knife, cutting edge facing upward, into the loop. This is not a good idea! When the knife is pulled up through the rope, the force of the cutting action can bring it to the face or other body parts.

An unwise, but common use of box knives is to reach across the box and draw the knife toward you. A rule of thumb is to “always cut away from you, and you’ll never cut yourself.” Another great truth is, “a sharp knife is a safer knife.” This gives you greater control of the blade. When a heavy force is applied, the blade often cuts deeper than intended, sometimes into your flesh.

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. Only use sharp knives; use the right knife for the job; wear cut-resistant gloves when appropriate; and always cut away from your body.

Kentucky Employers' Mutual Insurance

These recommendations were developed using generally accepted safety standards. Compliance with these recommendations is not a guarantee that you will be in conformance with any safety regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of your occupation or place of business. Safety and health remain your responsibility.

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