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Safety when using scissors

Accidents involving scissors can cause serious cuts and deep, potentially lethal puncture wounds, so safety when using scissors is imperative. Here is how to use scissors safely.

Stay safe when using scissors

To stay safe when using scissors and prevent personal injuries to yourself and others, you should never:

  • Run, jump or climb with scissors
  • Mess about (engage in ‘horseplay’) while using scissors
  • Use scissors for prying, scraping, screwing or pounding objects
  • Attempt to catch falling scissors (let them drop and then pick them up instead)

Proper safety when using scissors also necessitates always:

  • Using the correct scissors for the required task (i.e. using pinking shears or fabric cutting scissors to cut cloth, hairdressing scissors for cutting hair or trimming scissors to cut loose threads)
  • Using scissors in well-lit areas
  • Cutting away from your body (including your fingers, hands and arms, as well as your legs)
  • Focusing on what you are doing and stopping your cutting activity when looking up
  • Adopting good posture when using scissors (i.e. avoid bending over tables; keep your wrist at a neutral angle, rather than bent at an awkward angle)
  • Passing scissors to others handle first
  • Storing scissors point down and/or in their sheath (if available)

Safety when using scissors can be further increased by:

  • Keeping scissors sharp (this reduces the hand force required for cutting) and, if necessary, having them sharpened by professionals
  • Regularly removing cut fragments, fluff and dust from blades and cutting edges
  • Periodically oiling the hinge area and screw slot with a suitable fine oil
  • Returning scissors to assigned storage spaces after use

Cleaning your work area and flooring around it after using scissors further helps to prevent accidental injuries.

Hairdressers and scissors

Regularly using scissors, hairdressers are at particular risk of injuries by cutting or stabbing. This risk can be increased if, for example, damp, freshly cut hair is not cleaned up immediately, as this may lead to injuries by slipping and falling onto scissors.

Other causes of scissor-related injuries to hairdressers may include:

  • Tripping over leads for hair dryers and other styling equipment
  • Being distracted by colleagues or customers while cutting hair
  • Scissors being stored incorrectly or in the wrong place

If you were injured by scissors at work, you may be entitled to work injury compensation if your injury at work was caused by another person and happened within the past 36 months

You can learn more about claiming for work accident compensation by calling our Accident Advice Helpline freephone number on 0800 689 5659 now.