Skip to content

Safe use of knives at work

Knives and cutting tools are a common cause of work injuries and used in many industries, including meat and food processing, warehousing, construction, and agriculture.

While using knives, workers are at risk of injury from cuts to the non-knife hand or arm, as well as sprain and strain injuries if they’re not sharp and require extra force to cut.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland publishes guidance on the codes of practice and standards that apply for knife use, and the four steps to managing risk: identifying, assessing, controlling, and reviewing hazards and controls.

Injuries are commonly caused when:

  • the knife isn’t sharp enough
  • knives aren’t placed in a pouch while handling other items
  • workers aren’t wearing adequate personal protective equipment
  • knives are pulled back towards the body
  • workers attempt to catch falling knives
  • workers do not take adequate breaks or perform repetitive tasks with a knife.

Almost one third of all injuries sustained by 15–24-year-olds are cuts from working with knives.

Further information

Read tips and advice on how to keep young workers safe when they use knives and cutting tools at work (PDF, 0.28 MB) and Knives at work.

If you’d like to share a success story about managing knife use risks at your workplace, drop us a line at