Safety Tip of the Week – Utility Knife Safety

Utility Knife Safety

There’s one hand tool that demands your respect over many others in the workplace, a tool that can cut you to the bone in an instant… the utility knife.

In fact, nearly one-third of all injuries attributed to manual workshop tools in the US involve knives with retractable blades.

Accidents involving utility knives occur for the following reasons:

  • Drawing the knife towards you instead of away from your body;

  • Working with a dull blade that requires more pressure, increasing the potential for injury;

  • Trying to cut more than the knife can handle;

  • Improperly storing the knife with the blade extended;

  • Failing to wear personal protective equipment; or

  • Neglecting to inspect the tool before use.

Safety precautions to keep in mind when using utility knives:

  • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes in case a blade breaks.

  • Always use a sharp blade.

  • Wear metal mesh gloves to protect your hands.

  • Hand a utility knife to a co-worker with the handle first.

  • Consider using self-retracting blades.

  • Ensure the blades are properly positioned in the handle before use.

  • Keep extremities out of the cutting path.

  • Don’t apply too much pressure on the blade.

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when changing blades. Don’t use utility knives to pry objects loose.

  • Dispose of dull or broken blades in a puncture-resistant container.


As many as one-third of all manual tool injuries have been attributed to utility knives like box cutters. It only takes a moment of inattention for a blade to slip and an employee to be injured.

Unsafe acts…will keep you in stitches!! 


Download Flyers

English STOTW_301_UtilityKnifeSafety.pdf (170.45 kb)

Spanish STOTW_301_UtilityKnifeSafety_esp.pdf (184.26 kb)

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