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How to Prevent Workplace Cuts & Lacerations?

What are the main causes of knife related injuries at the workplace

More and more companies are investing in safety knives due to: knife accidents, injured workers, and financial costs.

The article "Accidents at Work - Statistics on Causes and Circumstances" by Eurostat (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php), the statistical office of the European Union presents statistics on non-fatal accidents and their causes i in the EU 2019. In 2019, one of the most common types of nonfatal accidents in the EU was contact with a sharp/pointed or rough/coarse objects (15.2%).

Diagram - Accidents at Work - Statistics on Causes and Circumstances by Eurostat 2019

According to 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/), accidents including cuts, lacerations and punctures account for about nine incidents per 10,000 full-time workers. These injuries are also among the most common types of injuries that cause workers and independent contractors to miss the time on the job, averaging four days.

What are the main causes of knife injuries at the workplace

Workplace accidents often involve cutting tools, particularly knives. The most common workplace knife injuries include:

  • Cuts to the other hand while cutting
  • Cuts to the working hand if it has slipped off the handle
  • The knife has fallen with the blade down
  • Cuts in the direction of self
  • A chipping of the knife blade 
  • Cuts in the hand or fingers if the knife is not properly stored in the workplace

You can reduce the risk of injury by safety knives and additional safety measures.

What is a safety knife

A safety knife is a knife with a special, sometimes unusual design, used primarily for opening boxes and packaging safely. Safety knives aim to reduce the risk of cutting injuries in the workplace. Most safety knives have a concealed or automatically retractable blade that retracts when the slider is pressed by the user; when the user releases the slider, the blade automatically retracts, ensuring that the worker is protected from accidental cuts compared to using a regular utility knife.

safety knives with automatic blade retraction - sollex

Safety knives are a common tool in the workplace today, especially among workers who frequently use knives and cutters, such as in shipping and receiving departments, warehouses and logistics. Safety knives and cutters are used for opening various types of packaging, in the packaging processes, cutting strapping material, tape, shrink wrap, and much more. 

What additional measures can be taken to improve workplace safety?

  • Choose the right cutting tools for your employees

It is necessary to choose a suitable knife for a specific task. It is possible that several knives can be used in one workplace for different tasks. There are different types of work knives, so provide your employees with ones that are adapted to their work processes. 

  • Invest in quality knives and blades 

Don't buy cheap and low-quality knives - such a blade can break if heavily used, quickly dull, and rust

  • Have spare knives and blades always in stock

The main rule of safe handling a knife is to change blunt blades in time! The dumber the blade, the less safe the knife becomes as the user will exert more force and pressure to cut the material. Making it more dangerous. So keep a supply of new blades so that your employees can replace the blunt blade when needed.  

  • Make a maintenance plan for knives and blades to keep them sharp and in working order

It is important that employees understand the rules for using different knives in the workplace. Instead of using the nearest sharp object, employees can reduce workplace accidents by taking time to use a knife designed for a specific task.

  • Provide workers with personal protective equipment ( PPE ) 

Protective equipment will protect the user from health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as gloves, mittens, and eye protection

  • Inspect the knife before using it

Instruct workers to carefully inspect the knife before using it. Damaged knives and blunt blades should be avoided. Make sure the tool is working properly and that the edge is sharp and in good condition. Working with a defective blade, whether it is chipped or blunt, can easily lead to serious injury. The likelihood that a knife with a chip or break during use increases if it is damaged. Emphasize the importance of checking the blade and PPE before each use. 

  • Proper storage

Safe storage of knives is an essential component of workplace safety. When the cutting job is finished, it is recommended to clean the knife and then put it away in a safe place.  Never just leave knives lying around, knives left behind can pose a high risk of injury. In addition, it is important to properly dispose blunt blades. Have labeled containers or purchase special safety blade boxes for this purpose.

Why your company should provide employees with safe knives

Safety knives are an important part of workplace safety. Safety knives prevent workplace injuries, from minor cuts to more serious ones. It's important to ensure that employees can perform their duties with minimal risk, so safety knives is a solid investment. 

If you are not sure which type of safety knife is best for your purposes, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.

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