Knife & Machine Usage Safety

Food processing and manufacturing employees use both manual (e.g., knives and scissors) and mechanical (machine-based) means to cut food during the preparation process. Improper handling of sharp knives can cause cuts and lacerations, while insufficient machine safety can lead to amputations and electrocutions.  In addition, insufficient machine hazardous energy control measures can result in worker electrocution.

Employers can take a number of measures to reduce the risk of such hazards, depending upon the specific activity being performed. 

Knife & Cutting Safety Measures

To reduce the risk of injury caused by manual cutting activities, employers should:

  • Instruct employees in proper knife cutting techniques.
  • Provide personal protective equipment (such as cut-resistant gloves) and ensure employees are properly trained in their use.
  • Ensure that knives are properly maintained, cleaned, and stored.
  • Ensure proper carrying and holding safety measures are observed.

Each of these measures is discussed in turn.

Cutting Safety

  • Employees should cut and slice in the direction that is away from the body.
  • Fingers and thumbs should be kept out of the way of the cutting line.

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