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Knives and Box Cutters in the workplace: Are they safe?

An employee when tearing down boxes cut themselves with a box cutter and required treatment beyond first-aid.


Widespread use of utility knives and box cutters in today's workplace:


Utility knives and box cutters are used by warehouse personnel in shipping and receiving departments, retail/grocery store checkers, stock clerks, restaurant and fast food workers, construction, and emergency rescue workers. They are used to cut open packages, cartons, cut string or strapping material, cut tape down the center of boxes, open bags, tear away shrink wrap and to cut seatbelts in cases of emergency. In short, they are being used for everything.


Factors to consider at your site or on your project include, but are not limited to, the following:

Occupational hand injuries as well as injuries (cuts, lacerations and puncture wounds) are the second most common type of injury in the workplace.

Extreme caution must be used at all times when using a knife or box cutter

A safety cutter with a permanent safety guard will protect the employee from injury because, in the box-opening position, the blade is not exposed. The guard also acts as a guide to properly position the cutter, protecting the user from injury and protecting the carton contents from damage.

These and other injuries can be prevented by building and increasing employee safety culture.

A successful safety cutter program must start with a strong commitment from management.

Workers must be provided with training and instruction on the proper use of safety tools in order to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries.

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