One of the hazards that comes in meatpacking plants is the risk of being cut by sharp knives. All workers who are handling knives and those who are working around them should understand basic safety protocols to help reduce the risk of injuries happening.
Being cut while you’re working at a meatpacking plant can be very serious. Amputations are possible. It’s also possible that you could suffer an infection in the cut, especially if the knife had already been used.
Tips for safe knife handling
Employers should have guidelines on proper knife protocols for the workplace. They should train the employees and have periodic reminder courses. At a minimum, workers should remember these points:
- Keep knives sharpened for smooth cutting
- Hold knives down and with the blade away from you
- Use meat forks or other tools to hold meat for cutting
- Never try to catch a falling knife
- Store knives in the proper sheath
- Wash knives carefully but never reach into soapy water to find them
- Place dirty knives in designated basins or baskets
- Put knives on a clean surface to allow others to pick them up
Knives should also be inspected periodically. Ones that have damage or need to be sharpened should be put out of service until the issues can be corrected.
Any worker who suffers a cut at a meatpacking plant should seek out medical care. With the risks that come with these types of injuries, failing to get medical care is a huge mistake. Workers’ compensation should cover the cost of care, as well as provide other benefits as needed.