Health and Safety Short Talk – Safety with Sharps

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Utility knives, often known as precision knives or Stanley knives are very useful tools for a wide range of tasks. Hack-saws and hand-saws are also used often in a variety of construction trades. However, these tools can easily cause serious injuries if not used safely. A cut through a vein or artery can lead to significant loss of blood in a very short time, which can be life threatening.

Unfortunately, these tools are often seen as a one-stop-shop for a wide range of tasks, which leads to misuse and injuries.

Try and avoid using utility knives as far as possible. Always look for a safer, more suitable alternative that has been made for the task.

Make sure you are using the right tool for the job. There are many different types of blades, knives and saws made for different purposes. In some cases, a completely different tool may be more appropriate.

Inspect the tool before use and check that the blade is sharp. Do not run your finger along the blade.

It is possible for the blade or teeth to break during use, and parts of the blade may fly toward your eyes. For this reason, you should wear eye protection during use.

Only use the knife or saw for cutting. Do not use it to pry or turn screws.

Use a straight edge or miter box as a guide where possible.

When preparing to cut, think about where the blade will go while cutting, or if it slips. Make sure your body, limbs and your other hand are not in the path.

Rest the workpiece on a firm and stable surface. Never on your lap or in the palm of your hand. Never cut in the triangular area bordered by your knees and groin.

Clamp the workpiece if possible rather than hold it in place with your hands.

Consider the use of cut resistant gloves for extra protection.

Retract the blade, cover or sheath it when not in use.

Dispose of used blades in a safe a suitable way.

Store and transport knives in a secure and safe way, protect from unauthorized access, and with the blade retracted or sheathed. Use a blade guard on saws to prolong their life and keep teeth sharp.

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