Knife and Sharp Object Safety

Western is committed to health and safety and informing people who work and study here about hazards they may encounter. Knives, tools and other sharps are used on a daily basis on Western’s campus.  Hospitality Services use knives to prepare and serve food to students, staff and faculty in the residence and campus eateries. Facilities Management uses tools routinely to keep our campus running.  The safe handling and use of a sharp object can keep you and others safe from a cut or puncture injury.


Knife Selection

Knife selection is an important part of ensuring that you have the right tool for the job. Improper knife use or selection can lead to injury. Various knives are used in the kitchens including the French knife, serrated knife, paring knife, and slicer.

Knife Inspection

Knives are to be inspected prior to each use to ensure the blade and handle are in good working order and there are no noticeable defects or missing pieces. A dull knife is the leading contributor to cut related accidents. Using a dull knife should be avoided at all times.

Cutting Surface

All cutting boards at Western have grips to ensure they are stable when cutting. Cutting tasks are not to be done on wheeled carts or unstable surfaces.

Safe Knife Handling

Staff are provided with a cut resistant glove to wear on their non-cutting hand, with a disposable glove overtop to keep the glove clean. This glove is used during cutting tasks to protect the hand from accidental cuts.

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

Practising good work habits is important to prevent the risk of MSDs. Using the proper technique when holding and using the knife, taking micro-breaks during long cutting tasks as well as performing stretching exercises, can help reduce the risk of developing MSDs. 

Learn more about Western’s MSD Prevention Program 

Knife Maintenance and Storage

  • Knives are sharpened and replaced regularly by a professional service. Kitchens are also supplied with electric knife sharpeners that can be used by trained individuals.
  • Knife boxes are located in Western kitchens for the safe storage of knives.
  • Knives are cleaned and sanitized using a scrub brush provided. Both blade and handle are cleaned after each use.
  • Safety posters are located around the kitchens identifying safe practises when handling and using knives.

Tools and Glassware

Tool Selection, Inspection and Use

Selecting the right tool for the job is a must. Sharp edges should only be used for the intended purpose. Using a blade as a punch or a can opener can lead to injury. Inspect tools and the work area prior to each use. Tools in good working order with no noticeable defects or missing pieces and an organized workspace will result a successful task.

Make sure you are trained in the use of the tools that you need to use. This may include the use of guards, lock out procedures, and following the manufacture’s instructions for use.

Be aware of all moving parts. If you are using a tool that rotate tie back loose clothing, hair or other items that may get caught.


Inspect glassware for chips, cracks, scratches and other damage prior to use.  Remove flawed glass from service.

Handle glass securely when setting up or moving. Minimize physical stresses on glassware. When using clamps tighten enough to hold the setup but be aware glassware is fragile and an over tight clamp or a sharp metal edge can cause damage.

Remember, hot glass and cold glass look the same. Using an insulated glove can be helpful.

Disposal of Sharps

Avoid direct contact with a damaged sharp edge.  Use tweezers, tongs or cut-resistant gloves to pick up materials if needed.

Dustpans and brooms are useful to clean up damaged glassware. Sweep a larger area toward the center to get all pieces. 

Securely dispose are sharp objects (needles, used razor blades, broken glass, etc.) in a puncture-resistant container.

First Aid

First Aid kits are located in all kitchen locations on campus, and are easily accessible to ensure care is provided right away if an accident occurs. Training is available to staff to meet First Aid Regulations under the Workplace Safety Insurance Board Act.

Learn more about First Aid


Training for programs involving sharp objects (Awareness Training, Knife Safety, PPE, Lockout, Lab and Biosafety) can all be found on the Required Training webpage

Helpful Links

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