Trends in ... safety knives and tethers
‘No tool left behind’
The category of safety tools encompasses many products. Among those are tool tethers and safety knives.Safety+Health spoke with an expert in each area – both of whom had some advice to offer when it comes to working safely with these tools.
When asked about what she wishes employers and workers understood about using tool tethers in the workplace, Nicole Novick, product development manager at Radians, noted that small tools as just as important as larger ones.
“Most people can’t fully operate without their cellphones these days,” Novick said. So “not only do employers and workers need to worry about securing larger tools, but they also need to be concerned about tethering the small items that trades people carry in their pockets.”
She added: “In addition to tethering tools when working at height, workers should be tethering small items in ‘no tool left behind’ sites.”
One solution? “Hi-vis vests engineered with tether pockets and retractable tool tethers provide a way to secure important, vital items that may be overlooked,” she said. “By placing retractable tethers inside vest pockets, the end user can secure the usual small tools and accessories used every day, like phones, pens/pencils, small wrenches, screwdrivers, tape measures, etc. Although these are small items, they can cause serious injury, especially when dropped from height when working on scaffolding or ladders.”
Contact with objects/equipment ranked third on the list of occupational injuries involving days away from work in 2019, according to Injury Facts – a National Safety Council database. These types of injuries are preventable.
“Safety managers have come a long way, but we still get calls after an employee gets an expensive cut using an open-bladed knife,” says Laura Green, director of marketing for The Safety Knife Co. LLC. “These lacerations could have been prevented if a safe knife program had been installed before the wound needed stitches.”
To help prevent cuts when using knives, users have many options. “Today’s safety world offers a much larger variety of safe cutting tools compared to the open-bladed knives used in the past,” Green said. “Enclosed bladed knives, designed so fingers cannot get to blades, offer a high level of protection. Automatic retracting knives have a very limited exposure to blades, reducing lacerations as well. Ceramic bladed knives, which cut material but not skin.”
Some parting advice: “Change blades!” Green said. “Dull blades will force an employee to tug on the knife and use it incorrectly. This repeated stress to knives can destroy its integrity and can have negative results.”
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
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- Facility safety
- Women’s PPE