Safety Tools and Knives

Trends in ... safety tools and knives

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Here, industry insiders discuss what’s new in the safety knife field and how workers can best stay safe when using these devices.

Innovations

TJ Scimone, CEO and founder of San Jose, CA-based Slice Inc., said smart retraction is a noteworthy advancement in the safety knife field. “Rather than retracting only when the user releases the slider, a smart retract handle also senses pressure against the blade during the cut,” Scimone said. “If that pressure stops, the blade retracts immediately.” This action protects the user from slips during the cut, he added.

“The second innovation – and this is huge – is that some manufacturers are going back to basics and looking at blade design,” Scimone said, noting that manufacturers now are creating blades that are safe to the touch yet still cut materials effectively.

Misuse

As with any safety product, misuse still occurs. “Knives are so familiar that we get lazy,” Scimone said. As an example, he pointed out that many workers attempt to apply a side load to a blade, which is dangerous. “If the blade breaks, shards will fly off unpredictably. Always understand tool design limitations,” he said, adding that education and training are “paramount.”

Another problem is that sometimes workers try to override a knife’s safety features “to be able to use the knife as they want,” said Cassie Donnelly, brand manager for Rosemont, IL-based OLFA. “There are now enhanced levels of safety knives that do not allow an override, and the blade will retract automatically once it loses contact with the cutting surface,” Donnelly said.

Work smart

“There are so many ways to stay safe, from improving glove technology to safer blades and smart retraction, that it makes sense to take the time to learn about what’s available,” Scimone said. “Take advantage of industry innovations to avoid costly and painful injuries.”

Regarding blade safety, Donnelly emphasizes the importance of changing blades on a regular basis. “A sharp blade is a safer blade because there is less chance of skipping or jumping, [which] can result in injuries,” she said.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month …

  • Protective clothing
  • Safety signs and labels

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