Retail employees frequently use knives, box cutters and other sharp instruments to perform daily tasks like opening boxes, preparing food and removing tags from products. Sharp tools like these can pose a dangerous cut hazard for workers.

Sharp tool injuries typically occur when the instrument slips during use. In most cases, the blade comes into contact with the worker’s other hand, causing a cut to the hand and/or fingers. Sharp tools also pose the risk of injury to other parts of the body, including legs, abdomens and the hand holding the tool.

The most reliable course of action to prevent cut incidents is to eliminate the use of sharp tools. Where this is not possible, more proactive management control is required. Teach employees to follow these steps when working with sharp tools:

  • Handle, use and store knives and other sharp utensils in a safe manner. Never touch the blade surface of the tool.
  • Always make cuts facing away from the body.
  • Make sure to keep all fingers out of the way of the cutting line.
  • Use protective clothing, like steel mesh gloves.
  • Use a knife or box cutter only for its intended purpose.
  • Use the right instrument for each cutting job, and make sure it is not dull or damaged before cutting.
  • Store sharp tools in the designated area when not in use. Make sure the cutting edge is not exposed. Never store sharp tools in sinks or on the edge of cabinets or countertops.
  • Let a falling knife or box cutter fall. Never try to catch it before it hits the ground.
  • Carry knives and other sharp tools with the tip pointed toward the ground and the cutting edge angled away from the body.
  • Pass a sharp tool to another employee by first placing it down on a clean surface and then letting the other person pick it up.
  • Focus while using a sharp tool. If distracted or interrupted, store the tool safely and resume cutting at a later time.
  • Place sharp tools in designated tool belts to transport to the top of ladders or other elevated work surfaces.
  • When working with a sharp tool at height, barricade the area below to ensure co-workers and pedestrians do not enter.

A serious stabbing or cut injury can result in heavy bleeding, particularly if a main artery is punctured. It’s important that workers use care when handling sharp tools.

Interested in learning more about risk management strategies your business can implement? Contact the Axis Insurance Group today.

Looking for additional ways to help keep your employees safe? Download our free Retail & Wholesale Employee Safety Manual for policies and procedures that support a safety-conscious work environment.