Product Focus: Safety tools/knives

Trends in ... safety tools and knives

Achieving the 'highest level of safety possible'

Whether cutting through shrink wrap, slicing boxes open or entrusting a lanyard to keep tools safely secured when at height, workers rely on various safety tools and knives every day. Here, manufacturing industry professionals share their thoughts on what is new in the field of safety tools and knives, as well as what users need to know to stay safe when working with these products.


Joe Buzzell, sales manager for Green Bay, WI-based Martor USA, said fully automatic retractable safety knives and concealed blade safety knives are technologies already embraced by employees. “Fully automatic retractable knives are safe alternatives to fixed blade utility knives because the blade automatically retracts at the end of the cut without the operator having to do anything,” Buzzell said. He added that safety knives with concealed blades can now cut through corrugated materials.


As with any safety device, it is essential to know a tool’s limits. John Salentine, vice president of Ventura, CA-based Hammerhead Industries, highlighted this by sharing an example involving weight limits for tool lanyards. “Consider the situation when this unrated and untested lanyard is mated with an overweight tool that dangles from the worker,” Salentine said. “It will limit his mobility and cause dangerous entanglement, balance and fall issues … at 20 or 30 feet above the ground.”

To prevent such a situation, Salentine recommends purchasing tethers from manufacturers that match tool weight with tethers, although he concedes that it may cost more to get the best quality. “It has been evident to us that when the need for the highest level of safety and productivity is paramount, budgets for tool lanyards need to be slightly increased,” he said.

Regarding safety knives, Buzzell advises knowing what type of knife is needed for specific materials. “The highest level of safety is not always attainable in every industry due to a wide variety of materials being cut,” he said. “The utmost important task for everyone these days is for them to identify the materials being cut within their company or location and implement the tool with the highest level of safety possible.”

Coming next month … 
Protective clothing

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association