How to Use a Box Cutter: Tips to Be Safe

A set of packages comes in the mail, and you grab the first box cutter you can find. Gutting the package open with a box cutter, you may or may not be using it safely. Too often people forget that these are incredibly sharp tools. That’s why safety is paramount when using a manual box cutter. Especially these types of manual box cutters are primarily designed for safety, while still being lightweight and precise.

These small tools, with a short blade, are typically used for cutting cardboard. While there are auto-retractable box cutters wherein the blade automatically retracts when it’s not in use, you have more control over when the blade is exposed or retracted.

Manual box cutters can slice through more than just cardboard. Besides cutting through single- and double-walled corrugated cardboard, box cutters can penetrate insulation, thick cardstock, plastic string, and stripping materials. In addition, you can make nice precision cuts with a box cutter.

Before you get to cutting, let’s dive into some safety tips for successful box cutter usage

Cut Away from Your Body 

This may seem like common sense, but it’s also a common mistake that can potentially lead to accidental cuts and lacerations. You want to cut away from your body. There’s always the possibility that your hand slips while you’re cutting toward your body. This can result in unnecessary and preventable bodily injuries. 

Additionally, make sure you’re never pointing the blade of your box cutter at yourself. Ensure that nobody is in the path of your blade while you cut as well. Angle it just so that you’re not in the line of sight. 

Here’s another pro tip: If you happen to drop your box cutter, never try to catch it as it’s falling. Simply let it fall to the ground and then pick it up. That way you hopefully avoid any hand cuts. 

Wear Gloves 

Don’t be afraid to bust out the safety gloves! That’s what they’re there for. Cut-resistant gloves are perfect for handling box cutters. Not only will this protect your hands and mitigate the risk of injury, but wearing cut-resistant gloves also gives you a better, firmer grip on your tool. In this case, control can only help keep you safe. 

Retract When Not in Use 

Again, this should be a no-brainer. It’s best to keep that blade retracted when you’re not using it. If you leave a box cutter out in the open unsupervised and not in use, you’re elevating the risk for injury of passersby. You can endeavor to keep everyone safe by utilizing the retraction function. 

You can invest in a manual box cutter or an auto-retractable one. Regardless of your choice, make it a habit to retract your blade when it’s not in use. 

Keep the Blade Short

Some box cutters have different blade settings. While you should search for a box cutter that’s already at a safe placement, it’s good to maintain a “shorter” blade length. The less blade exposure, the better. This is crucial in preventing accidents and long-term injuries. 

Of course, you can purchase a box cutter that already has less blade exposure as part of its innate design. Keeping it as short as possible will prevent dangerous accidents from unfurling. 

Make Deliberate Cuts 

Always apply firm and consistent pressure when you’re cutting. Make your cuts as deliberately as possible. Approaching your work with a firm hand will decrease the margin of error, which in turn protects you from getting injured.  

Now, you want to utilize your arm to move the blade in a “deliberate” direction. Put some intention and confidence behind it. Keep a watchful eye over your blade and maintain concentration regarding what you’re cutting. It’s all about keeping a steady hand!

Keep a Sharp Blade 

Dull blades can be just as dangerous to the touch as their sharp counterparts; they also can tug and pull. This can lead to hand slippage and subsequent cuts. You never want to utilize a dull or broken blade. So, if this happens, make that switch to an effective, sharp blade. 

Blades that are composed of zirconium oxide are inherently stronger than other, more traditional box cutters. They’re able to withstand wear and tear. Additionally, they’re safe to the touch despite a hardened exterior. 

There are a myriad of ways you can utilize a box cutter. Of course, safety takes precedence, so be sure to follow the basic safety tips listed above to ensure your safety while you work. Don’t be afraid to conduct your own box cutter research while you search for the perfect one. 

It’s important to actively seek out new technological innovations when it comes to box cutters and other industrial tools. The market is incessantly evolving. But these tips on how to be safe will always remain timely and relevant. As long as you follow the tips above, you’ll be cutting safely in no time.