Preventing cuts and lacerations in the workplace

Cuts and lacerations account for nearly 1/3 of all workplace injuries. But, a significant portion of all cuts and lacerations in the workplace are preventable by following some simple guidelines. It sounds simple and should be common sense but we’ve seen too many people over the years that lost significant work time due to easily preventable cuts and lacerations.

Before using a knife, make sure it is sharp and in good condition. A dull knife is more likely to slip and cause an accident. If the knife has any damage, do not use it.

Do not use a dull or blunt blade – harder to cut in a straight line with a dull blade and it can encourage the use of too much force.

Do not use too much force – greater chance for it to slip or go off target while at speed which can increase the severity of the laceration

Always cut away from your body and any other people nearby. This will help reduce the risk of accidental cuts or injuries.

Pay attention to what you are doing. Distractions can lead to accidents, so stay focused and avoid multitasking while using a knife.

Make sure the blade and handle are appropriate for the job – ergonomics are important

Use cut resistant gloves – accidents do happen and cut resistant gloves can help to minimize the damage

Keep the right knife handy – keep the appropriate tool close to where it will be used so that people aren’t encouraged to use the nearest blade that they can find out of convenience

If you are not confident in your ability to safely use a knife, do not hesitate to ask for help or guidance from a more experienced colleague.

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