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The purpose of the knife safety and cut prevention program is to implement work practices and procedures that will protect employees from hazards associated with using knives. Knives are frequently found in the serving area. Servers may be expected to use knives to cut bread or other items they bring to a table. Occasionally, broken glass also creates a hazard in the serving area.

Employer Responsibilities

Follow OSHA standards:

  • Ensure employees use appropriate hand protection when hands are exposed to hazards, such as cuts, lacerations, and thermal burns (Hand Protection Standard [1910.138(a)]).

Follow safe work practices: 

  • Keep knives sharpened and in good condition; dull knives tend to slip and may cause injuries. Inform workers when knives are newly sharpened. 
  • Instruct employees on safe handling, use, and storage of knives, including designating a location or container to store knives and other sharp equipment.
  • Train employees to store knives with the blades all facing one direction.
  • Do not place knives in soapy water where they cannot be seen. 

Employee Responsibilities

  • Do not use a glass to scoop ice (it can break from the cold ice and cause cuts to the server and glass in the ice bin); use a metal or plastic ice scoop for placing ice in glasses.
  • Do not pick up broken glass with your hands; use a broom and a dustpan.
  • Use cutting boards for safe cutting and chopping.
  • Avoid talking with coworkers or customers while using a knife.
  • Focus your attention on the cutting task while using a knife or other sharp utensil. Distractions increase your risk of a cut.
  • Learn to use a knife safely:
    • Cut in the direction away from your body.
    • Keep your fingers and thumbs out of the way of the cutting line.
    • Place dirty knives in a designated container for cleaning, rather than storing in sinks.
    • Wear heavy-duty gloves while cleaning sharp utensils.