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Safety Knives At Work - How To Lower The Number Of Knife Injuries At Work

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Post Safety Knives At Work - How To Lower The Number Of Knife Injuries At Work   Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:10 am

There's no doubt that safety knives play a crucial role in safety at work, but what proportion of accidents at work would you guess were knife related? Surprisingly recent statistics show that knife injuries account for between 25% and 50% of all accidents at work which result in the employee requiring time off. That's an astonishing statistic, and one worth thinking about.

By looking at the role safety knives play, and thinking about how they can be employed in conjunction with personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety policies it is very possible to cut back the number of injuries at work requiring time off by up to half. That would not only be a superb result as far as the safety and welfare of employees is concerned, but it is likely to have a very positive effect on the running costs to the business too.

Of the accidents at work caused by knives almost 90% result in an injury to the upper body, with just over half of all knife injuries causing damage to the fingers. A third of accidents cause damage to the arm, with feet, toes and legs all featuring in the statistics enough to cause concern. Most of the time knife accidents result in lacerations of one kind or another, and to varying levels of severity, but 6% of injuries are stabbings - accidental it is hoped.

So what can be done to reduce or eliminate these accidents? Are safety knives all it takes or is there more to it than this? There is no doubt at all that safety knives do play a very significant role in helping to reduce knife accidents, and with a very wide range of expertly designed safety knives now available there's little reason for anyone to still be using open bladed, pointed knives in the majority of cases.

Many safety knives now include retractable blades, and in some cases the blade is only exposed once the handle is being held. A trigger which contains a spring will push the blade out or draw back the sheath, which means that in cases where the employee loses their grip or drops the knife the blade is automatically retracted. This helps to protect against leg and foot injuries in many cases, although it may not always be enough, and is unlikely to be appropriate in all situations.

It's important to bear in mind that in addition to providing appropriate safety knives at work it is also important to think about related PPE equipment. This might include safety gloves which help to protect against cutting or stabbing. In some cases arm protection or wrist protection may be needed in addition to gloves protecting the hand, and leg protection in the form of chain aprons may also prove to be helpful in lowering the number of knife related accidents. As well as blades which do not have a pointed tip, or which retract or sheathe the blade when dropped, wearing proper foot protection will also be valuable. Open toed sandals and thin trainers or shoes will offer little protection, whereas leather boots or steel capped boots will offer better protection.

In any business where knives are needed it will be essential to have a clear policy on the use of knives at work, in order to prevent silly, unnecessary injuries such as those caused by people walking about with exposed blades, or having them in belts or pockets not designed for the job. It is also highly advisable to have a policy in place which means that each safety knife is loaned to one individual, who is then responsible for the care and use of the knife. Finally, it's always work re-evaluating the tasks which require safety knives in the first place, in case there is any way in which the manufacturing process can be altered or adapted to warrant the use of knives unnecessary, or at least reduced.

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