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Martor Australia's inputs on selection of knives and cutters

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article image Safety knives and safety cutters

Martor Australia  provides inputs on the selection of the right type of safety knives and safety cutters. Even a slight thoughtlessness when using a fixed blade knife can instantly lead to serious injuries; less dramatic consequences are of course also feasible.

The design of many knives and cutters forces the user into an unnatural or strained handling posture which has the potential to expose the tendons and ligaments of the users arm to undue stressing conditions. Immense expenditures caused by job-related accidents of the employees are the logical consequence.

It is generally not possible to completely eliminate the use of knives in a work place, but the use of alternatives can be opted.

It is safe to select the right knife for the application and/or environment from the range of safety knives and cutters available. User’s views in determining the correct knives for their specific application must be invited; users are far more likely to accept a change in cutting tool if they are allowed some choice and input into the selection.

Once the selection(s) have been made the knife/knives to be used has to be specified; it is also necessary to specify which knife should be used for each specific task. Any other knives that are currently in use can be withdrawn to stop employees from slipping back into old habits.

When selecting the correct knife the following should be considered:

  • How does the knife protect the user from coming into contact with the blade when things get out of control? By way of automatic blade retraction or automatic blade guarding function or spring loaded safety pin covering the blade or a concealed blade or a spring loaded safety hood covering the blade?
  • How is the knife or cutter used? Does the handle allow a firm and comfortable grip? Can the knife be used by both right and left handed users?
  • Are the knife handles and bodies designed to remain safe when laid down?
  • Is the blade change safe and without any undue cutting risks?

If accident prevention is meant to be more than just a convenient slogan, all the so-called safety cutters should meet the above minimum requirements.

Another important consideration is the quality of the knife being selected. Has the knife been tested by an independent organization to test conformity with the applicable safety regulations?

This is confirmed by the GS symbol indicating tested for safety by the German Safety Control Board (TÜV) which appears on MARTOR knives and cutters.

Without the knife being tested how can you determine the quality of the knife? What material has the knife been produced from? Is it made from the correct material for the application?

When purchasing eye protection, ear protection or hand protection the buyer always asks, whether these conform to the relevant safety standards. This question should also be asked of any Safety Knife or Safety Cutter being considered.

Once the knives have been chosen it is essential that spare blades are always readily available. Blunt blades has to be replaced with sharp ones regularly because otherwise the pressure on the knife has to be increased to cut through the material, this also increases the force with which the blade may cut the user in the event of an accident.

Used blades should never be dropped in a waste bin; they should be stored in Martor Australia’s Safebox, a simple innovation for the storage and disposal of used blades. The Safebox will fit in any coat or trouser pocket.

A Used Blade Container should then be used for the collection and disposal of the used blades previously stored in the Safebox. The blade dispenser from Martor Australia is the safe place to store new blades, before they are taken out and fitted in the safety cutter. These plastic blade dispenser cases will not allow blades to fall out unexpectedly or break up such as cardboard boxes.

It is important to avoid situations where knives are left lying loose on benches or work surfaces and where employees carry knives in their hands from one place to another. Such situations can lead to injuries to both the user and other employees.

Knife holsters should be allocated wherever suitable to employees who need to move around with knives. Holsters keep the safety cutters conveniently ready for use and are a highly recommended accessory.

Employee training is critical, when cutters are used correctly, injuries from cuts in the workplace become a thing of the past. Martor Australia supplies instructive posters and videos explaining knife handling and the blade changes of Martor Australia’s Safety Cutters.

These are available in several languages upon request. Martor Australia will also provide on site training on its range of Safety Cutters.

The Retail Trade Division of the German Occupational Accident Insurance Association registered 5205 accidents with cardboard box slitters during the period Jan 01, 2004 through Dec 31, 2004.

This is the statistical side of the coin, whereas the real figure is likely to be much higher.

An analysis of occupational accidents in 96 German department stores revealed about 400 cutting accidents per year, with:

  • 60% due to uncontrolled cutter movements
  • 30% due to an exposed blade after completion of a cutting job
  • 6% due to accidental contact with the exposed blade of an idle cutter
  • 2% of all injuries are the REGRETTABLE result of wrong handling practices of a box slitter with automatic blade lock, namely in that the user’s thumb remained on the blade push during the cutting process.
  • 1% of all cutting accidents are the result of technical box slitter handicaps
  • 1% of all injuries result from the use of cutters with inadequately sized handles tending to blister the inner surface of the hand

Martor Australia and the Central Management of the department store chain developed a special scheme in that the employees were provided with Martor Australia’s Safety Cutters incorporating an automatic blade edge guard.

Result: No cutting accident within the next 12 months. In other words, the investment paid back in full. After all, the German Federal Institute of Industrial Safety has recently established that each occupational accident represents up to EURO 500 per day in the form of overhead costs.

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