Food Alert handle a wealth of data on behalf of our clients, and we have been analysing information on health & safety incidents.  We have noted that cut injuries are one of the most common health & safety accidents reported to us and therefore we have put together this reminder of good practice to prevent cuts and injuries when handling sharp objects such as knives and glass.

HSE data also shows that cuts from sharp objects, including from handling knives and glass, account for about one third of manual handling accidents.

As with all health & safety, risk assessment is key and there are comprehensive risk assessment template available on Alert 65 including ‘Use of knives and sharp equipment’, Handling glass & broken crockery and ‘Bottle/glass crushers’.


Knife safety:


Accidents involving knives are commonly reported and can involve cuts to hands, fingers but also the upper arm and torso if used incorrectly.

To reduce the risk of knife accidents, staff should be taught the best practices for handling knives, sharpening them, using the most suitable one for the task and safe and secure storage of knives. Best practice includes:

  • Keep knives properly sharpened so they can slice through foods and not slip accidentally
  • Employ safe practices, for example always use a stable surface to cut food on and chop on a board not in your hand
  • Always cut away from your body
  • Do not rush and try to keep distractions at a minimum. If you are interrupted when using a knife, place the knife down, do not continue cutting while distracted
  • Do not leave blades on countertops or in precarious positions. Place them at the ack of your work surface
  • Do not leaving sharp knives in drawers and sinks. Store knives in suitable racks or sheaths
  • Never try to catch a falling knife and when carrying it, always point the blade downwards
  • Take care when washing up, do not reach into soapy water with bare hands and wear washing up gloves
  • PPE (personal protective equipment) may be required for certain activities such as deboning.  A risk assessment should identify when and what PPE is required but this can include aprons, gauntlets, mesh gloves etc.
  • Provide knife safety training


Dangerous machines such as slicers:


  • Make sure dangerous machines such as slicers, mixers and food processors are suitable located, securely fixed and adequately guarded properly
  • Site the equipment so that the operator cannot be accidentally bumped into or easily distracted from the task
  • Display warning notices alongside machines to remind operators and others of the dangers they pose
  • Use the appropriate size food pushers; never use your hands to process food through grinders and slicers
  • Maintain equipment and safety devices such as guards in good condition and never use damaged or broken equipment
  • Take extra care when cleaning blades etc.
  • Always operate equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Turn off and unplug the slicers and/or grinders when not in use or left unattended, and always switch the thickness of the meat slicer to zero
  • Ensure all staff are trained to use the equipment.




  • Carry glasses to customers on non-slip trays
  • Broken glass should be cleared up as soon as possible
  • A dedicated dust pan and brush for clearing glass should be used to gather up broken glass
  • The area should be thoroughly swept/ vacuumed
  • Wear cut-resistant gloves when dealing with broken glass or potential broken glass
  • Chipped, cracked or broken glasses should not be thrown into general waste bins
  • Damaged glasses must be put into a specified container (without a bin liner) labelled ‘Broken Glass’
  • Let your glasses adjust to different temperatures slowly. Don’t take a glass straight from the glasswasher and fill it with ice/drinks– let it change to room temperature first
  • If you accidentally serve a drink in a damaged glass do not pour it into a fresh glass but replace the whole drink
  • Consider plastic glasses at outdoor events


For further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us on our Advice Line via email or telephone: or 0844 445 7412.