Safety & HCM Post

When Sharper is Safer

A sharp cutting tool is a safer cutting tool. That seems all wrong, but it’s true. A dull cutting tool requires too much force to operate, increasing the chances of it slipping out of control.

So make sure the cutting hand tools you use are kept sharp enough to do the job properly—whether you are using a chisel in a carpentry shop or a paring knife in your own kitchen..

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about how to sharpen a tool. Some need to be sharpened on a grinder, using a particular abrasive. Wear eye protection and make sure the tool rest is adjusted for safe operation..

Many other cutting tools are sharpened by hand, swiping them across a shaping stone. You should not let a tool become excessively dull before sharpening it because it is more difficult to get it back into the right shape. Overworking a tool while sharpening it can cause it to break.

You can keep your tools sharper and in better condition if you store them properly in a rack, sheath, lined drawer or another kind of holder. Guard the cutting edge to prevent injuries and to prevent damage. Never leave a cutting tool where someone else might encounter it unexpectedly—under scrap or on the edge of a work bench..

Here are more reminders about using sharp tools safely:

  • Inspect the tool before each use. Replace those with loose or damaged blades, worn handles and other defects.
  • Cut away from the body—and away from other people.
  • If you must use the opposite hand to hold the material, wear a cut-resistant glove, such as one containing metal chain link. A heavy leather apron, eye protection and safety footwear are also required for many jobs that involve cutting tools.
  • Maintain good balance when you use a cutting tool so you can maintain control even if it slips.
  • Don’t use an undersized or underpowered cutting tool. Trying to slice a frozen slab of meat with a knife instead of a meat saw is asking for injury.
  • If you wear a knife sheath, position it toward the back of your hip, not in front of you.
  • Use the cutting tool designed for the job. For instance, while pocket knives and multi-purpose tools might be useful away from work, they are not made to stand up to heavy use. Pushing too hard on a pocket knife could cause it to collapse suddenly. Use a tool designed for the job, such as a sturdy hooked knife, safely-adjusted ring knife or wall-mounted cutter.
  • Carton cutters are designed specifically for opening cartons quickly. The blade should be retracted when not in use.
  • Take care to avoid slitting the contents of the box. An unnoticed nick in a plastic container could result in a hazardous spill.
  • Don’t wipe a tool on your clothing.
  • Wash sharp knives separately from other utensils. When soaking, washing and rinsing, keep them in sight, not hidden under soapy water or other objects.

It should be obvious that horseplay with cutting tools is a bad idea. Knife-tossing contests and sword fights are dangerous activities and are against the safety rules.

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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