Safety Alert – Using Stanley or Utility Knives

WHS ALERT – Cuts/Lacerations – Stanley Knives


There’s one hand tool that demands your respect over many others in the workplace, a tool that can cut you to the bone in an instant . . . the Stanley Knife.

Many Apprentices use Stanley Knives to cut strapping, puncture shrink-wrap or open packaging. But one wrong move and these retractable blades can do serious harm.

So far this year there has been a total of 14 cuts/lacerations some involving Stanley Knives.

Many accidents involving Stanley Knives occur for the following reasons:

  • Drawing the knife towards you instead of away from your body.
  • The knife not having an automatic retractable blade.
  • Working with a dull blade. (Dull blades require more pressure, increasing the potential for injury.)
  • Trying to cut more than the knife can handle.
  • Failing to wear personal protective equipment.
  • Neglecting to inspect the tool before use.

Some tips when you need to use a Stanley Knife:

  • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes in case a blade breaks.
  • Always use a sharp blade. They are safer than a dull blade.
  • Wear cut resistant gloves and sleeves to protect your hands and arms.
  • Always work on a stable surface
  • Don’t apply too much pressure on the blade.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when changing blades.
  • Don’t use Stanley Knives to pry loose objects.

Remember only use a Stanley Knife if there is no other alternative!

Ai Group Apprentice & Trainee Centre Apprentices should not use a Stanley knife that does not have a retractable blade.


If you have any safety concerns or issues, please use the contacts below:

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Alan Roydhouse
WHS National Manager
M: 0418 854 039
E: [email protected]

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Ren Trinchera
Senior Safety Adviser
M: 0449 676 752
E: [email protected]

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Paul McPherson
Safety Adviser
M: 0415 121 606
E: [email protected]