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Be safe with knives!


homer knife safety

The UK government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice is that you must ensure that you are kept safe from harm so far as is reasonably practicable.

This means that the risk from using knives must be controlled to ensure people do not suffer cuts. You must assess the risk of being cut by knives and take reasonable precautions.

What are the risks?
• Accidents involving knives are common in the catering industry. They usually involve cuts to the non-knife hand and fingers but can lead to injuries on the upper arm and torso.
• Cleavers are commonly used for chopping and the same controls for knives should be adopted.

Ways to minimise the risk

  • Train in the safe use of knives and safe working practices when sharpening them
  • Use a knife suitable for the task and for the food you are cutting
  • Keep knives sharp
  • Cut on a stable surface
  • Handle knives carefully when washing up
  • Carry a knife with the blade pointing downwards
  • Store knives securely after use
  • Use protective equipment as required (For deboning, it is recommended that a suitable protective glove is worn on the non-knife hand, and a chainmail or similar apron is worn)


  • Leave knives loose on worktop surfaces where they can be accidentally pushed off
  • Try to catch a falling knife
  • Use a knife as a tin opener
  • Carry knives while carrying other objects
  • Mess about or engage in horseplay with a knife
  • Carry a knife in your pocket

How safely use a steel when honing a knife.