Pocket and Utility Knife Safety

As the emergency room physician sighed he said, “You’re lucky, you didn’t cut nerves or tendons.” 

I was sitting on the emergency department stretcher getting ready for stitches in my hand.  I had been in a hurry, absorbed in the task, and cut toward myself on the last inch or so of opening an almost indestructible package.  I ended up with a deep laceration between my thumb and forefinger. 

I thought these tips might be a good reminder for all of us considering the prevalent use of pocket and utility knifes in businesses of all kinds.

  1. Dull knives slip.  Know how to properly sharpen or replace the knife blade.
  2. Use the right tool for the task.  It’s a cutting tool not a screwdriver or a mini pry bar.
  3. Do not hold items freely in your hand while cutting.  Use a stable surface or cutting board and both hands while cutting.
  4. Do not set the knife down with the handle or blade over the edge of the resting surface.
  5. You can cut yourself severely while attempting to catch a falling knife.  It is a safer to pick it up from the floor or ground.
  6. Do not store your knife with other tools or in large catch all drawers.
  7. Never carry an open knife.  When not in use, close it or retract the blade.  Place it safely in a tool pocket or a sheath. 
  8. When using the cutting blade, make sure to cut away from yourself.  Never cut in the direction of your body or your hand.  
  9. When closing the blade into the handle use the palm of the hand on the back side of the blade with your fingers clear.
  10. Use a “safety knife”  that has a guard or stop that prevents bodily injury if the knife slips. 

Check out the following resources online for more information:

SafetyToolboxTopics: Utility Knife Safety

Pocket knife.