Certain tools are ubiquitous in the workplace, showing up everywhere from the factory floor to the accountant's desk. Everyone figures they know how to use these tools because they always have access to them. Such is the case with the ever-present box cutter. Safety training is especially necessary for these run-of-the-mill yet potentially dangerous tools precisely because employees assume they already know what they're doing.
How to Use a Box Cutter Safely
Before you educate your staff about box cutter safety, it's good to review proper form and safety techniques yourself. According to DoItYourself.com's advice, users should retract the cutting blade when it's not in use, look for issues with the cutter's condition frequently, and use the knife for cutting only (not as a screwdriver, hammer, or other tool). Staff should also wear protective gloves, keep their body out of the cutting line, cut on a stable surface, and maintain focus.
All these recommendations seem pretty logical without extra training, right? Well, you know common sense isn't as common as you'd think. The result of assuming people will practice box knife safety on their own can set your company up for injuries and subsequent costs. Here's how—with an emphasis on safety—box cutter training can become part of your overall training regimen.
Start New Employees Off Right
When your company hires new team members, chances are they go through orientation for everything from how to get into the building to what benefits they have. During this introductory time, take a few minutes to go over box cutter safety tips and other safety issues that affect the whole company. Even if you have just a few minutes with new groups, playing a reminder video like this one shows everyone how to handle a cutter correctly.
With younger new hires, this sort of emphasis is particularly valuable. Many young employees just starting in a business are eager to prove themselves, and they also may not realize the importance of paying attention to the little things. By coaching them to absorb and apply protocol on even the most commonplace tasks, you're helping them grow into their roles at the company. You also avoid inadvertently implying they aren't smart or experienced enough to know how to handle these everyday tools by making this training part of how everyone works.
Use Box Cutter Safety Posters to Make Your Point
Visual cues remind employees to focus on what they're doing. For factory workers, having reminders near equipment can trigger an extra effort toward safety. But when you're trying to protect the entire company at the same time, you need something that makes an impact in a place where all employees can see it.
Reach large groups at once with a professional-looking poster in the places they congregate: the break room, entries and exits, even the bathroom doors. Create your own or download this box cutter safety poster and print out copies at sizes large enough for employees to be able to scan them as they walk by. To drive the point home, consider connecting a simple contest to the poster content to make sure your staff is paying attention.
Integrate Toolbox Talks for Common Tools
According to EHS Today, one of the biggest dangers of injury while using box cutters comes from employees being distracted. When you think about it, that makes sense. All of us are guilty of being on autopilot while we're completing mundane work. Unfortunately, employees who try to split their attention between work and socializing or multitasking can cost your company an average of $32,000 per hand injury. Striking a balance between allowing employees autonomy on the job and policing against distractions can be disruptive at best. Often long-term staff members who want to shoot the breeze and distract your employees are your biggest challenge.
While you might have a hard sell trying to tell seasoned employees to pay close attention to seemingly simple tasks, your supervisors can be a huge ally in relaying the message. Work with floor managers to build box knife safety into a larger toolbox talk about using common tools correctly. Then, ask leaders in your back office to discuss similar topics during staff meetings.
When you're working box cutter safety training into your training routine, consistent messaging and visual reminders are both crucial to protecting your employees. Introduce the concepts as new employees join your company, post reminder posters wherever your employees spend their time, and enlist the help of supervisors in their toolbox talks to deliver a sound message.