In the course of a workday, you may come across a sharp or pointed object while working in an office, a restaurant, hotel, hospital or store. Whether it’s a needle, knife, broken glass, scissors, pointed pencil, staple or tool, if you’re not following safe working practices, you could end up with a cut, puncture, nick or gash that can lead to a serious infection or disease. Pay attention to what you’re doing and do it with your safety and health in mind.
One of the leading causes of injury is improper handling of sharp and pointed objects. Keep yourself and others safe by remembering and following these safe work practices:
- Watch where you put your hands, especially when reaching into drawers, closets, sinks, and shelves or when grasping under or around items. Make careful and deliberate movements.
- Don’t try and catch sharp or pointed objects. Let falling objects fall. It’s better to clean up a mess or replace the item, rather than risk an injury or infection.
- Keep bare hands out of wastebaskets, disposal containers or liquid-filled sinks, which could contain broken glass or sharps. Never “bear hug” a bag. Hold it away from your body and limbs to prevent sharp items from puncturing the bag and causing an injury.
- Don’t carry sharp items in your pockets. Return sharp and pointed items to their proper storage areas; keep them away from surface edges.
- Select the right tool for the job. Sharpen cutting tools and knives on a regular basis and only use them as they were designed. Dull blades require more force and may be more likely to slip, cutting the handler. Make sure guards are in place on machinery with cutting blades.
- Protective clothing, such as cut or puncture resistant gloves, chaps or aprons, can further protect against injury.
Always employ proper clean up and disposal procedures to dispose of any sharp, pointed, broken, cracked or otherwise damaged objects. Make it a point to act cautiously and to follow recommended safe work practices around sharp or pointed objects. But, if an injury occurs, report it immediately and get proper medical treatment to prevent a serious infection or possibility of disease.
Published in December 2010
Article re-printed from Safety News, published by the State Compensation Insurance Fund
California Distributors Association’s safety coordinator is Ted Machado. Please contact Ted (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions concerning employee safety. Also, for your reference and convenience, we have a workers’ compensation safety video library available upon request.