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How to Safely Use Utility Knives

Utility knives are often seen as harmless tools that don't deserve the respect that other, bigger tools do, but the truth is that one wrong swipe with a utility knife could seriously injure the user. That's problematic because the knives are used so much by all types of people. They use them for art or crafts, projects around the house, and many people utilize them in their jobs on a daily basis. In fact, one report shows that 40 percent of the injuries that occur with manual workshop tools in the United States involve utility knifes that have retractable blades.

But the tools are necessary for so many things, it just doesn't make sense to quit using them. Luckily, there are some safety practices that will prevent injuries with a utility knife.

Handy Safety Tips When Using Utility Knives

In order to use a utility knife without injuries, follow these safety tips.

Don't pull the utility knife toward you when cutting. Instead, swipe the knife in a motion that goes away from your body.

Don't work with a knife that has a dull blade. Dull blades cause users to apply more pressure to the utility knife in order to cut through materials, and this can easily cause an injury. Instead, use a sharp blade each time you use the knife. By using one of the newer knifes with snap off blades, this will be easier to do.

Use the right knife for the right job. Utility knives come in all different sizes and each one is designed to handle various types of jobs. Be sure you purchase the best utility knife you can afford, and then only use it for what it was designed for—nothing more.

Make sure the blade is retracted after you use it. Otherwise, people could come behind you and pick it up with the blade exposed and cut themselves.

Wear personal protective gear. For instance, you should wear safety glasses in case the blade breaks off during use, which can injure your eyes. Also wear gloves to ensure you don't cut your hands.

Inspect the knife before you use it. This will insure the blade isn't damaged, or the handle won't break when you are in the middle of cutting something.

When handing someone a utility knife, be sure to do so with the end of the handle facing them so they don't grab the blade and cut themselves.

Store the knives in an easy to find place at work. Workplace accidents happen when workers can't find a utility knife, and resort to using dull pocket knives or other inappropriate tools.

Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions before using your new knife for the first time, especially when you are changing the blade.

Don't use the utility knife for anything other than what it was designed for. For instance, don't attempt to pry something loose with your knife.

When you are ready to change out the blade, dispose of the old one in a puncture resistant container so the blade can't poke through and injure someone else.

Utility knives are a handy tool that countless people in their jobs, on household projects, and for many other uses. But it's important to be smart when using them in order to prevent injuries. Be sure to follow the safety tips listed above to make sure you don't receive unnecessary injuries.

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