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October Safety Tip – Using Box Cutters Safely - BCGEU

Box cutters are great tools for slicing through bulky material quickly and easily. They are also versatile because the retractable blades allow you to modify the blade length depending on the thickness of the material being cut.
In spite of their convenience, box cutters pose a hazard since the blades are very sharp, and we don’t generally think of these as requiring special precautions!
Preventing cutting injuries

  • Only use tools and equipment you have been trained to use safely.
  • Understand the box cutter’s (or knife's) design so you know where everything is, especially where it opens/closes.
  • Make sure the blade is sharp. Dull blades require more pressure, will tug and pull, which is more likely to cause your hand to slip and cut your fingers – leading to greater potential for injuries.
  • Shorten the blade – keep the blade as short as possible to reduce the likelihood of getting a deep cut.
  • Avoid distractions and make sure nobody's nearby while your cutting material, box, or object.
  • Always cut away from yourself. When cutting taped cartons – cut the tape horizontally, not vertically.
  • Take your time when cutting, do not rush.
  • Cut deliberately – hold the object being cut firmly with one hand and the box cutter in the other. Never use two hands on the tool.
  • Keep fingers away from the blade’s path.
  • Keep blades covered/retracted when not in use. Never leave knives unattended on the sales floor or the counter – they can be used as weapons
  • Do not leave knives on top of stacks in the warehouse. A worker may pick up the box and the knife could fall on them.
  • Change blades when necessary. If the blade needs to be changed, follow manufacturer’s instructions and use the proper replacement blade.
  • Dispose of old, dull or broken blades in a puncture-resistant container. Every workplace should have a “sharps” container. If your worksite does not, bring this to the attention of your manager or occupation health and safety (OHS) committee so they can ensure one is brought in.

Ensure that you and your co- workers who use any type of knife or box cutter are aware of first aid practices and know where the first aid kit is located.
What to do if you are injured on the job?
By law, you are required to report any work-related injury to your supervisor and first aid attendant as soon as possible. It is important to report even minor cuts from a blade as the cut could potentially become infected.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to your OHS representative, steward or local chair.
We can be reached directly at [email protected] or you can visit us online at

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