In almost every industry sharp tools are essential to many kinds of work, but sharp or pointed objects can be hazardous and often cause painful and life changing injuries. Types of injuries include cuts, punctures, nicks, and gashes that can lead to serious infections or diseases. These injuries can be prevented through employee training, protective gloves, machine guards, and proper equipment maintenance. But the important thing to remember, gloves are just a last line of defense. The best way to avoid injuries is to change the way a process or task is completed which removes the hazard or reduces the chance for an injury to occur.
Prevent injuries from sharp objects by taking safety precautions:
- Always stay alert and focused on keeping your hands safe – not just at the start of work or a task.
- Select the right tool for the job. Use sharp items only as they were designed. Sharpen cutting tools and knives on a regular basis. Dull blades require more force and may be more likely to slip, cutting the handler.
- Wear gloves resistant to punctures, cuts, or moisture. Choose gloves based on the hazards normally expected for the task.
- Never cut toward the palm of your hand. Always in the opposite direction, away from you.
- Let falling objects fall. Don’t grab for falling cutting tools, sharp instruments or glassware. Its better to clean up a mess or replace the item rather than risk injury or infection
- Store sharps safety. Take the time to ensure that instruments can be reached easily but pose no threat of injury. Don’t carry loose sharp items in your pocket. Store cutting instruments in drawers or racks when not in use.
- Check tools and equipment each day. Ensure they are in proper working order before beginning a task.
- Follow clean up precautions at all times. Dispose of defective sharps and chipped or cracked glassware properly. Wear gloves, or use a damp towel to pick up broken glass.
- Don’t reach into wastebaskets or disposal containers with bare hands, they could contain broken glass or sharps. Sharp material poking through bags can easily cut unprotected hands or legs. Check disposal bags before lifting to see if they are overloaded or likely to break. Lift plastic bags from their tie-off point and paper bags by their edges whenever possible and hold bags away from the body. Never “bear hug” a bag or throw it over your back.
- Make sure guards are in place on machinery with cutting blades. They are there to protect you and removing them only increases the chance that an injury will occur. While some people think guards slow them down or create extra work, you need to ask yourself “Can I do this job with any missing fingers?”.
Improper handling of sharp objects is one of the leading causes of injuries from them. Don’t rush or take shortcuts when handling sharp equipment or tools. Protect yourself and others by handling sharp objects safely by knowing the risks involved. Follow safe handling and disposal procedures and always Report all injuries and get proper medical treatment
Protecting yourself and your co-workers is an important part of your job. The right combination of attitude and action can prevent most injuries from sharp instruments and tools.
If you have any questions any information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our new Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!