Trends in ... safety knives
‘A sharp blade is a safe blade’
Contact with objects and equipment resulting in nonfatal injuries/ illnesses involving days away from work totaled more than 196,000 in 2020, according to Injury Facts – an online source of preventable death and injury statistics compiled by the National Safety Council.
Of those, nearly 52,000 were attributed to cuts and lacerations. How can we better protect workers from this type of injury? Cassie Donnelly, senior brand manager at OLFA North America, shares her insights.
Have there been recent innovations in the safety knives area?
Donnelly: As safe cutting continues to evolve, there will be more focus on concealed blade knives. This style of cutting tool allows for the blade to always be active and available, but the user is protected because the blade is concealed with the cutting channel. These tools allow for faster and easier cutting without a blade being extended and a risk of laceration. These tools also provide tool-free blade changes without the need to touch an exposed blade.
What do you wish employers and workers better understood about using safety knives in the workplace?
Donnelly: Specifically in the cutting area, users need to understand that a sharp blade is a safe blade. When using any safety tool, training and proper use is always the key to safety. Instead of adopting processes or tools that reduce risk but don’t function as well for the application, we need to use the correct tools for the job in the correct way. Providing key details on the process and the materials used in the process will always lead to better results.
Also, when implementing new safety procedures, make sure your team is invested in the process. They’re the ones doing the work – they need to know the tools they’re required to use stand up to the job. Their input and buy-in is the best measure of success of any safety program.
What concerns or questions are customers coming to you with about safety knives? What advice do you give them?
Donnelly: Users are always looking for safer procedures and tools for their applications. We always begin with a safety audit. We evaluate the products being cut, the manner they’re being cut and the environment in which they’re being used. Then we can recommend the best product for that specific application. There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Different areas or departments may need different solutions because of the demands of their environment.
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
Coming next month:
- Facility safety
- Women’s PPE