Box cutters and utility knives are useful tools we find at work and home. From the shipping and receiving department at a warehouse and a retail store’s stock room to an office resource room and even your own garage – box cutters and utility knives are used quite regularly in a variety of environments.
Though it seems simple and not nearly as dangerous as many other tools you may encounter, improper use of box cutters can still result in injury. We often overlook this risk. A little education can go a long way to stopping these preventable injuries at home and in the workplace.
Whether you’re at work or home, consider the following safety tips whenever you’re using a box cutter or utility knife:
- Keep the blade retracted when not in use and store in a safe location.
- Check your blade. Only use a sharp blade. A dull, rusted blade can be more dangerous. When changing blades, be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions and properly dispose of old blades.
- Wear proper personal protective equipment – gloves and safety glasses.
- Only expose enough blade to cut through the materials. By exposing extra blade, you increase the risk of injury to yourself and damage to the item you’re cutting.
- Avoid distractions when cutting.
- Keep your body out of the cutting path. Cut at an angle away from your body to avoid injury.
Workplace Safety Suggestions
Your employees may feel that using a utility knife is common sense. But unfortunately we still frequently see injuries from “common sense” actions. So it is still important to help refresh their knowledge.
For new hires, consider adding this to part of your orientation. Do you have materials you generally provide during onboarding about safety? Edit those documents to include a brief section on box cutters. You can also find short videos or posters that review tips by searching online – or perhaps create your own.
Veteran employees shouldn’t be forgotten. They would still benefit from a refresher on safety tips for common tools such as utility knives. You could incorporate short safety tips and reminders into any of your regularly scheduled communications and team meetings. That alone may not keep your employees engaged in the safety talk, so make sure your supervisors are leading by example and following the safety tips in their own work.
Taking a few minutes to review proper box cutter use can help prevent injuries at home and in the workplace.