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Thinking Sharp: Keeping Safety Top of Mind

No-Knives Policy Implemented Companywide to Keep Crews Safe

When I began my career in the electrical field 30 years ago I worked for a utility company, and my main job was underground cable installations and terminations. While doing terminations, I used only four tools: a wood ruler, a small adjustable pliers, a crimper and a fixed-blade knife. There were other tools available, but these were the preferred tools and I knew no other way.

Looking back, the way I was trained years ago now seems almost barbaric. The evolution of tools has been fascinating to witness over time, including stripping tools that are now smaller, more precise and much more user friendly than they were in the past. With the introduction of these tools, the work of knives of any kind on a job site is being taken over by safer, more practical methods.

As a project manager at Faith Technologies, I see firsthand the importance of safety on job sites every day. One of our core values is the uncompromised focus to keep people safe, and one of the types of injuries we see most often is lacerations caused by knives. This led our team to identify and create a plan to eliminate the use of knives companywide.

Removing knives from a job site at first seemed like an impossible task; people in the trades have been using them to complete their tasks for many years. Yet today there are numerous alternative tools available, which make it not only feasible, but smart.

Here are some of the alternate tools we’ve implemented:

  • Speed-system type tools designed to take off the outer jacket of MV cable, semi con and insulation
  • Knipex tools that score the outer jacket of cable for easy removal
  • Tools that attach to your battery drill designed to strip the outer jacket of cable
  • Box cutters that have no exposed blades for opening packages
  • Small hand-held wire strippers for stripping smaller cable and wire

At Faith Technologies, we are stocking all our shops with these and other necessary tools, and are also replacing knives on our tool lists with protected-blade tools. In addition to eliminating knives, another very important initiative we’ve taken is replacing previous job site gloves with new, even stronger cut-resistant gloves provided to all field employees and stocked on each project.

Training on the new tools has been implemented on all job sites, including videos demonstrating the use of the new cutting tools, and we have updated our safety policy to prohibit the use of knives. Faith Technologies employees at every level of the organization were required to review and acknowledge adherence to the policy updates, as their safety is of the utmost importance to us.

While change is not easy for everyone, our new no-knife policy has been met with great attitudes and welcomed by many employees who are working to add even more creative alternate cutting methods. To us, knives on Faith jobsites are now a thing of the past, and this is also a direct reflection of another of our core values – redefining what’s possible.

The elimination of knives on job sites can change our entire industry, and we challenge other trades from all lines of work to follow us and implement similar policies on their sites. All trades working together helps keep everyone safer every day.