It goes without saying. ALWAYS exercise caution when using a utility knife.
But it’s easy to forget safety tips when you’re under the gun to open a large load of cartons, loads secured with nylon banding or pallets wrapped with multiple layers of stretch film. That’s when simple mistakes can turn into serious workplace injuries. In fact, a single serious cut from a box opener can easily exceed thousands of dollars for emergency medical care, workers’ compensation and lost productivity.
In addition to causing worker injury, using a utility knife improperly can also damage a carton’s contents, rendering the goods unsalable and more losses. Worse yet, cutting the inner contents can cause liquid and powder spills that present slip and fall dangers to co-workers or customers.
We know—you get it. Especially if you play a role in keeping your workplace safe and productive.
SAFE WAREHOUSE CUTTING TECHNIQUES
- PROPER POSITION. Position the carton so it’s a safe distance from your abdomen, hips and thighs. Then draw the knife away from your body. Always maintain a safe distance from co-workers and customers as you cut.
- SHARP IS SAFE. A dull blade requires additional pressure to make the cut or may tear the cardboard. Stop and change the blade when needed. A dull blade cuts erratically and can easily slip off the cutting path, increasing chances for injury.
- VISUAL GUIDANCE. Never use your thumb as a guide to position the blade. Instead, plan your cut visually and grasp the knife with your entire hand.
- CUT AWAY FOR HANDS. Hold the carton with your hand on the opposite side you’re cutting. Keep your hands and fingers away from the cutting area at all times.
- PROPER EXCHANGE. Never toss or hand a knife to a co-worker. Set it down and let the co-worker pick it up.
- BLADE DISPOSAL. Discard used blades in a safe blade storage receptacle. Never toss in the garbage where they might injure an unsuspecting person.
- SAFETY DROPS. If you drop a knife, don’t try to catch it. Let it fall to the floor. Then examine the blade and mechanism for possible damage before using it again.
- STRETCH FILM DIRECTION. Pull stretch film away from the pallet contents before starting the cut. Start cutting the film from the top of the pallet. Never slice stretch film from the bottom up.
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