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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kind of a long rant. So feel free to skim over it. You'll probably get the point.

Very recently I started a summer internship. I'm doing it as a business internship but it takes place in a manufacturing plant.

As a part of my training I am spending a few days in a couple of the production areas. Nearly all of the new employees do it. Even as repetitive and boring as it can be I can see the reasoning behind it.


One of my tasks that I was doing was opening taped up cardboard boxes. The options I saw were I could either use a plethora of tools not designed to cut on a flat surface and maul the boxes to bits, or use my small, folding pocket knife. This particular blade is about the size of your average house key. While opening the boxes, the area supervisor very kindly informed me of the policy that knives are not allowed, and I would need to use something else to open the boxes. No big deal, right? But then I got to thinking. This is a manufacturing facility. With equipment that can kill a person if used negligibly. Nothing new. Lots of things are like that. Cars for a cliche example.


My gripe is, why, in an environment where there are so many potential hazards, can I not carry a small pocket knife? Obviously the intent is none other than safety. To make sure every employee goes home with all of their digits, and no one goes psycho and stabs someone. But with all of the ways that one can hurt themselves or others in an industrial setting, why focus so much on pocket knives? Heck 40 yards away in my office, I'm sure one of my group members was using a kitchen knife four times the size of mine to cut his chicken for his mid afternoon snack. Why is he allowed to do that when I can't use the same tool to perform a necessary task?

I'm honestly dumbfounded that the world is so afraid of what was most likely the second or third tool to be invented. A simple blade. Where in our history did the pocket knife become so treacherous?

I've been been carrying a pocketknife nearly every single day of my life since I was 8. I still have it too. My youth was spent in cub scouts, and boy scouts where we were given basic safety lessons, and sent off into the woods with our sharp knives in our pockets. If we came back free of flesh wounds it had been a good day. For the last 4 summers I have been teaching scouts how to use knives, axes, fire, bows, rifles, and shotguns safely. Then we get to give little Jimmy a 12 gauge, and trust that he won't do anything stupid with it. If I have the confidence to do that, why do so many employers not have the confidence to have their employees use basic tools.

I'm sure by now I've ranted enough. But seriously. It's a small pocket knife. Not a machete, not a sword, not a weapon, but a tool. What gives?
 

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Policies don't necessarily have any GOOD rationale behind them. It's like TSA where you can't take nail clippers on the plane with you, but you're allowed a ballpoint pen. To me, a ballpoint pen is more of a weapon than the nail clippers.

There may be some history where someone injured themselves with their pocket knife, creating hassle with corporate insurance, and so a blanket policy was created to just nix pocket knives altogether. Who knows.

At any rate, one would hope you had at least a working box opener of some sort. There are a lot of various "safety" types, even.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They have the spring loaded ones, that close unless you push forward on them, I think those are more dangerous than a regular box cutter because you have to fumble with the dang thing.


I guess insurance is a very good theory as well.
 

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Several places I've worked at don't allow any tools from home in the plant. That includes pocket knives. Reasons include curbing theft, insuring employees are only using tools approved by the safety engineers, insurance purposes in an already dangerous environment, and the list goes on.

Blanket rules can't make exceptions for common sense. ;)
 

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Blanket rules can't make exceptions for common sense. ;)

Sadly enough I see this in the army also.


to the OP: i would say that the main thing is ensureing that you are useing proper saftey equipment.

some people will use a broken peace of glass if they are not "issued" a knife or the likes. (yes this is an extream example)
 

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Employers feel themselves on the legal hook for almost everything bad that could happen to their employees or visitors on premises. So they make extremely defenseinve policies about weapons in the workplace. How can so small a blade be a problem, you ask?

What did the 9/11 hijackers use to take of the planes they crashed?
 

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... there are so many potential hazards... Obviously the intent is none other than safety. To make sure every employee goes home with all of their digits, and no one goes psycho and stabs someone. But with all of the ways that one can hurt themselves or others in an industrial setting, why focus so much on pocket knives?
You're missing the point. They aren't focusing "so much" on pocket knives at the expense of other safety hazards. They are focusing equally on pocket knives, so they receive the same focus as other safety issues.

Did you know that by "focusing" on a simple task like holding the handrail on the way up and down the stairs, the folks at Dupont were able to reduce stair related injuries by 75%? Companies go after the low hanging fruit first when solving safety issues. Your company is now moving beyond that and solving some less critical but still important safety concerns. I see nothing wrong with it.
 

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What did the 9/11 hijackers use to take of the planes they crashed?
Oh, OH! I think I know this: Box cutters, right? So the box cutter should be banned and pocketknives allowed, right?
 

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Did I say anything about rationality?

I was talking about legal reasoning.
 

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I'm sure by now I've ranted enough. But seriously. It's a small pocket knife. Not a machete, not a sword, not a weapon, but a tool. What gives?
You're preaching to the choir here. I think it boils down to someone in authority with a real bad knife phobia. I've seen grown men and women FREAK OUT at the sight of a two inch pocket knife.
 

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Sadly enough I see this in the army also.


to the OP: i would say that the main thing is ensureing that you are useing proper saftey equipment.

some people will use a broken peace of glass if they are not "issued" a knife or the likes. (yes this is an extream example)
I know I'll get reamed for saying it, but dude, spell check is your friend!
 

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we use cutting tools at works every day, personally, I like the Sandvik brush axe but one of my employee had me order a Condor Parang



won't quite fit in a pocket though
 

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A little bit of form, with a lot of function. I like it.
 

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