Most workplaces, especially industrial or warehouse environments, require a cutting tools supply company. When box cutters or utility knives break or go missing, or a new employee needs to be outfitted with cutting tools, you’ll need to refresh your inventory. How you manage this will impact workplace safety.
When your workers are all using the same cutting tools to perform the same tasks, they will experience fewer injuries. It’s a fix that’s simple but perhaps not obvious. And in the real world, things often don’t work this way.
Why Using Any Old Cutting Tools Supplier Is Bad for Safety
We recently spoke to Troy Eisenrich, a Certified Safety Professional with twenty years of safety and loss prevention experience, about how a lack of tool consistency creates safety problems.
He has often seen situations where workers are sent to a local industrial tools supply store or retail hardware store to get new cutters. Typically these employees choose the cheapest option (to save money for their employer) or a model that they have used before. Over time, this results in a mish-mash of cutting tools in the workplace.
Workers end up using cutters they’re unfamiliar with and using whatever knife is around to do the job at hand. As Eisenrich has seen, “These purchased knives are typically ‘one size and type does it all’ on the floor.”
When someone uses a tool they’re not used to, they’re more likely to use it improperly, which can result in a laceration. Also, there should always be specific tools for specific jobs. While many cutters are versatile, some are better suited to particular jobs. Always use the right tool for the job to stay safe.
Or, as Eisenrich says, “Knives capable of, and intended to do, the process at hand eliminate unfamiliarity and uncertainty.” When workers are familiar with their tools and are confident in their tools’ effectiveness, it reduces the chances of injury.
There’s also the issue of worker turnover, which, Eisenrich points out, is common in industrial and warehouse settings. New workers tend to have more accidents because they may not have much experience with the tools and procedures they’re being asked to perform.
If everyone is using the same tools, when these new-hires need help or have questions about a cutting tool, those around them will have the experience to help. This all contributes to reducing injuries.
Eisenrich reminds us of the cost of poor cutting tool safety: “Lacerations and stitches may impact your insurance premiums and will go on your OSHA recordable, and production takes a big dip when someone gets hurt on the floor. Making up production often leads to more incidents!”
Finding the Safest, Most Effective Knife for the Job
Another huge issue to consider is that not all cutting tools are created equal. And because you want to ensure that your team stays safe, you want to find the safest cutting tools available. Providing quality tools is one way to prevent hand injuries in the workplace. Some key features to consider are:
- Does the handle limit blade exposure as much as possible?
- Is the blade safe (hint: Slice® is the only manufacturer to make a finger-friendly® blade)?
- Is the tool ergonomic?
- Is the tool high quality and durable?
- Does the tool cut with as little effort as possible?
- Is the tool the right one for the job required?
Once you’ve done your research on the safest tools available, you’re not going to want your workforce to use just any tool to get the job done.
Honing down to a one-job, one-cutter solution will also streamline your training: you won’t have to cover how to use loads of different tools. For instance, if you choose to supply staff with a Slice box cutter, you can turn to this short video to show them how to effectively use the tool:
Another advantage of everyone using the same cutting tools for the same jobs is that it’s easier for management to spot whether or not workers are using the right tool: they’ll all look the same.
Establishing a Consistent Cutting Tools Supplier Relationship
The easiest way to maintain consistency throughout your cutting tools supply is to work with a reputable supplier. They will assign a representative to you who knows the products well and can help you if you have questions or need to source new tools. They will also make sure you remain well stocked. And they’ll help introduce your workers to the tools, showing them proper use and maintenance.
When you do decide to make an investment in consistency, Eisenrich suggests purging all of the old cutting tools, introducing the new ones, and getting feedback after your staff has had some time to use new tools for a time. Management may balk at the cost of replacing tools, but improving workplace safety has been shown to save businesses money. Safety has a good ROI.
Eisenrich sums up why you should choose to partner with a supplier to keep your cutting tools supply consistent: “It’s cheaper and takes less time than a single trip to the ER or immediate care.”