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Working Without a Utility Knife #204570 12/23/11 03:33 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 44
AllClear Offline OP
This Week The Company that i have been working with basically full time for the last 6 years banned razor utility knives. A couple of their employees cut themselves over the last several years, So they decided to prohibit them. Contractors and vendors included.
The "Safety Captain" informed me of the new policy as i was headed to strip and hook up a 350 MCM cord.
My initial reaction was that their is no way for me to do my job without a utility knife. Some things i can do off site but not much.
Has anyone else ran into this Problem?
I'm Sure a utility knife is the proper and only tool for the Job, especially when working with large conductors.

It's Not The Fall That Kills You...
It's That Sudden Stop At The End
Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204572 12/23/11 04:02 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,328
Trumpy Offline
There are "proper" knives for stripping cables and large wires.
Being a Liney, I own one of these things, how it differs to your stock standard knife, is that it has a T-shaped piece welded to the end of the blade, not only so that it only cuts the insulation (and not the conductor material), but if you slip with it, you aren't going to get the end of the knife stuck into a part of your body, where it could do some really hideous damage.

My one sort of looks something like this:


Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204577 12/23/11 11:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Allclear, it's neither you nor your company's record. It's the indoctrination that passes for 'education' in the safety wonk courses.

I've seen the trend for over a decade now. Various firms have adopted the attitude that knives are just not acceptable, ever, period. Not even little bitty ones that they would even allow on airplanes.

In their place they usually issue spring-loaded utility knives with rounded blades.

Why? We're told there are way too many folks being injured by knives that were inadvertantly being left open, and the rounded tip of the blade is somehow seen as 'safer.'

Along with this is the attitude taught that everyone of the customers' employees has, as a sacred duty, a responsibility to watch those pesky, ignorant contractors and micro-manage their tasks.

My real opinion is unsuitable for this forum. Suffice it to say that the logic fails and the attitude is at best pure condenscension. It's not about safety at all.

The natural result of this happened last month. A man erred, and got himself (his entire body) wrapped several times around a shaft .... merrily going 'flop, flop, flop' until the machine was shut down. Unwrapping him was delayed significantly, as no one had a knife handy with which to cut the tangled clothing. He will live.

A knife is a tool, no better or worse than the person holding it. It was probably the first tool made by man. You never know when it might come in handy- whether to peel an orange or to open a parcel. There would not be an enormous industry making knives if they were not considered relevant by everyone.

I've railed against these attitudes before ... but folks don't seem to get the message. All of our freedoms are at risk when one group is taught that they have the natural right to rule the rest of us, without restraint, as we are at best oversize children or retarded apes with tool belts.

Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204578 12/23/11 12:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,178
HotLine1 Offline
The debates on this that I have heard are basically twofold.

One is that a razor knife is the 'tool' that supposedly has the most 'cuts' recorded against it, as oppesed to a 'regular' knife. (Like a hawkbill)

IMHO, a 'razor' type is used for one convenience; that being the replaceable single edge blade. Convenience, as opposed to being able to sharpen a 'regular' knife which takes some skill, and yes more time than swapping a razor blade.

Another reason I have heard is the razor blade damaging the conductors. Blame the tool, or blame the person?

Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204582 12/23/11 06:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 44
AllClear Offline OP
Well Said Reno
I'm Right there with you.

Also There is No substitute for Skill, We are in a Skilled trade. I have to use my head or i would be a danger to myself and others around me. I'm charged with wiring safetys and interlocks that protect equipment and people, But i can't use a knife??

Hot Line, it is a all inclusive ban, No Leatherman Multitools, Swiss Army pocket knives, or utility knives. No Blades period. Sizzors or shears only.
Trumpy, That tool looks interesting, I'll have to get one, Plus a hundred others for all of the other applications that may or may not work. Each one taking their own special blade.

On a Better note, My Boss just gave us next week off PAID as a safety incentive because we have worked 10 years without a lost time accident. I'm Off For The Rest Of The Year!

It's Not The Fall That Kills You...
It's That Sudden Stop At The End
Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204585 12/23/11 10:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
I wonder how you would cut the semi-conductor material off a high voltage cable without a really sharp knife.

Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204594 12/24/11 02:09 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 44
AllClear Offline OP
They Do make tools for scoring semicon, we have a couple but they are a joke. There is NO Substitute for skill. Removing the primary insulation and then Penciling it for a splice are tools that i'm unaware of. I have dreamed of modifying a pencil sharpener to do that job. Plastics change with the temperature, and with how the cable was manufactured, and type of insulation.
Phone cables and optical cables, Same way...
Up till this new policy we had to wear kevlar gloves and chainsaw chaps while using a knife.

Back to my Original Question, How Many of you have had to deal with a policy like this? Have you been able to work with a no knife policy?

It's Not The Fall That Kills You...
It's That Sudden Stop At The End
Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204625 12/25/11 10:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline

I couldn't eat without knife, so I'm interested in how this turns out.

Do they have a no gun policy, too?

Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204629 12/25/11 11:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 265
wire_twister Offline
Whoever made that policy has never had to deal with GC cable, love to see em strip that without a knfe!


Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
Re: Working Without a Utility Knife [Re: AllClear] #204630 12/25/11 11:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
KJay Offline
IMO, a utility knife is a safe and very useful tool when used properly and should be available if needed, but I also agree that itís not the right tool for stripping wire and cable. Maybe they should simply impose a no utility knives for stripping wire policy.
There are some tools made by Ripley that did a good job slitting the outer jacket on HV cable and also one we used that would remove the core material just like a big pencil sharpener, but these were not cheap at all. Hopefully your company is now willing to spend the money to buy them for you to use.


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