You don’t have to work in a kitchen to be injured by a sharp object. From box cutters to table saws, there are plenty of opportunities for cuts, punctures and scrapes in all work environments. While all body parts could easily be at risk, our hands are at the forefront and receive the majority of these types of injuries. However, staying alert and working safely can protect your hands and still allow you to get the job done efficiently.
Most importantly, use the proper tool for the job. For example, a pocket knife should not be substituted for a box cutter. When you have the correct tool and are ready to begin the job, follow these steps to make it through in one piece.
- Inspect your tool before each use – even if it’s a kitchen knife. If you notice any damages, remove it from service and let a supervisor know.
- Don’t rush through tasks involving sharp objects. Take your time and focus on the task.
- Wear appropriate cut-resistant gloves and check them frequently for wear and damage.
- Remove rings or bracelets before working with sharp items if there’s a chance they could become caught.
- Do not remove machine guarding equipment and if you notice any damages to guards, let a supervisor know immediately.
- Never reach into a machine unless proper lockout/tagout procedures have been followed.
- When cutting, use a sharp blade. If the blade has become dull, more force is required, which could result in less control and increase the risk of injury.
- Do not leave exposed blades unattended. Retract them or place them back where they belong before leaving the area.
- When using box cutters, keep the blade directed away from your body. Hold the object being cut with your second hand, but keep your hand behind the blade (not in the path of the cut).
- Never try to catch a falling cutting tool; stand back and let it fall to the ground.
If you are injured by a sharp object, basic first aid should be used as soon as possible. For more severe injuries, follow the first tip below and call 911. Anyone giving first aid should wash their hands first, put on gloves and then follow the steps below.
- Apply pressure on the cut using a clean bandage or cloth.
- Elevate the wound above the heart, if possible.
- When the bleeding has stopped, gently clean the wound with soap and warm water.
- Apply antibiotic cream and cover the area with a clean bandage.
- Call a doctor if the injured employee has not had a tetanus shot within the past 10 years, or if the wound is deep, contains debris that won’t come out or shows signs of infection.
Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company