Knife Safety Policy

1.0 Purpose

This procedure outlines general safety precautions to help avoid injury due to the use of knives while performing work assignments.

2.0 Scope

This procedure is applicable to IP employees and contractors across all departments at the Franklin Mill complex, including Fiber Recycling Plant and Sheet Converting, performing work-related tasks involving knives.

3.0 Responsibilities

  • Department managers shall insure that their employees are trained on the contents of this procedure
  • Department supervision shall audit/inspect to ensure personnel compliance with the requirements of this procedure
  • Employees are responsible for reviewing, understanding, and complying with this procedure

4.0 Definitions


5.0 References

  • Franklin Mill “Personal Protective Equipment” Policy
  • Task-Specific “PPE Assessments”

6.0 Procedure

Personnel using knives at the Franklin Mill shall adhere to the following steps before, during, and after knife use:


  • Review the task at hand to determine if a knife is the appropriate tool for the job
  • Use a type of knife appropriate for the task being performed
  • Use of lock-back type knives are preferable to folding knives
  • Inspect the knife before initial use each shift to insure it is in proper condition

Handling & Use

  • Wear cut resistant gloves while handling, sharpening, and using knives, unless use of a glove inhibits performance of the work (eg, some Paper Mill tasks), or use of the glove presents a safety hazard (eg, moving equipment)
  • Always hold knives by the handle
  • Maintain eyes-on-task while handling/using knives
  • Do not exert excessive force onto the knife (ie, force in excess of that required to perform the task)
  • Do not place any part of the body in the line of fire of the knife blade – cut away from your body unless the task necessitates otherwise
  • Do not “chop” or strike objects with the knife
  • Do not sharpen knives while in close proximity to others
  • Individuals shall communicate their use of a knife to others who are in close proximity to their work area
  • Uncover/unsheathe knives immediately before use, and re-cover/re-sheathe or close knives immediately after use

Safe Behaviors:

  • Never run or climb with an exposed knife blade
  • Keep the knife folded or sheathed while it is being carried.  If the task requires one to carry a knife with the blade exposed, walk slowly, holding the knife by your side and pointed down
  • If the knife is dropped, let it fall – do not attempt to catch it
  • Never throw a knife
  • If the knife is to be passed to someone else – do not hand it to them.  Instead, place the knife (blade down) on a flat, level surface and then have the other person pick it up
  • For “pocket knives”, only one blade is to be open at any time
  • Follow the knife manufacturer’s recommendations while sharpening knives
  • Use sharpening stones/devices as recommended by the knife manufacturer appropriate for the type/style of knife
  • Sharpen knives in designated areas only
  • Store knives in designated areas

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