Safety Alert: Lacerations
Safety Alert No: 50
Date: 25 July 2014
Last month there were 8 reported incidents recorded including EGT apprentices where the nature of the injury was either a cut or laceration to hands or fingers. This figure makes up a total of 44% of the injuries reported to the OSH team in the month of June 2014 (*Source: NECA Safe Online Safety Management System incident report).
Typical hazards/causes of cuts and lacerations
- Improper training.
- Lack of established safety procedures.
- Employees in a hurry, taking short cuts or not following safety procedures.
- Contact with metal items such as nails, metal stock or burrs.
- Hand tools with blades (e.g., knives, box cutters, screwdrivers, chisels).
- Powered machinery with cutting blades, pinch points, chain and sprocket, conveyor belts, rotating parts, motors, presses, lathes.
- Handling sharp objects or material such as glass, sheet metal.
- Improper tools for the job or tool used improperly (e.g., using a screwdriver as a pry bar).
- Tools in poor condition (e.g., cracked or broken handle, dull blade, mushroomed head or slippery from exposure to oil-based chemicals).
- Missing or improperly adjusted guarding.
- Poor housekeeping, clutter, debris.
- Poor lighting, reduced visibility.
- Failure to wear cut-resistant gloves or wearing improper gloves for job.
Knife and blade Safety
- Use the proper tool for the job.
- Inspect tools prior to use.
- Keep work area clear.
- Keep tools under control at all times.
- Keep the item you are cutting secured; don’t hold work in
hand while cutting.
- Use a sharp blade; a dull blade requires greater force,
increasing potential hazards.
- Replace blades when they become dull; use caution when
disposing of used blades (e.g., use approved sharps container or wrap the
cutting edge with heavy tape).
- Stand in a well-balanced position and well clear of the
cutting blade; pull the blade towards you as opposed to away when cutting on a
horizontal surface. Always stay out of the line of fire!
- Make sure the path of the cut is clear, and keep the
non-cutting hand out of the path of the cut.
- Never use a cutting blade as a screwdriver, pry bar or
- When appropriate, use rounded tip cutting blades rather than
pointed tip blades.
- Maintain proper storage or use a separate drawer for sharp
- Keep cutting tools in a closed position or covered with a
- Wear proper safety gear; eyewear, gloves, sleeves.
What can we do to prevent injuries?
Risk Assessments – Have you completed your Risk Assessment in your RAC book? Have you identified any potential hazards and taken steps to eliminate or reduce them?
Wear your PPE - Gloves are provided to all apprentices and are maintained by Electrical Group Training. Don’t have any gloves? Contact your field officer on 6241 6100.
Right Tool for the Task – Using the right tool for the task, in the right way will decrease the risk of injury.