Knife Safety

Agricultural employees use a variety of knives when performing cutting tasks. To prevent cuts, amputations, and lacerations, it is essential that employees follow proper knife safety, which consists of proper knife cutting, storage, cleaning, carrying, holding, and sharpening safety. These topics are discussed in detail below.

Cutting Safety

To observe proper cutting safety, the following measures should be observed:

  • Employees should cut directionally away from the body (especially away from fingers, hands, and legs).
  • Employers should provide personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves made of steel mesh or Kevlar) when employees perform cutting tasks with knives, and employees should use (and know how to use) the equipment.
  • Fingers and thumbs should be kept out of the way of the cutting line.
  • When cutting, employees should use a knife that is appropriate for the specific task at hand.
  • Knives should only be used for their intended purpose (e.g., cutting, slicing, carving).
  • Knives should not be used for purposes for which they were not designed. For example, DO NOT use knives for prying, pounding, screwing, or hammering tasks.
  • Cutting should only be performed in well-lighted work areas.  

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