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Mark 007  
#1 Posted : 31 October 2019 12:28:50(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mark 007

hi

i am querying if there are any specific rules or laws , health and safety or employment laws that prohibit an employee bringing a knife to work with them and keeping on their person , to clarify i am talking about a pocket knife , however it is not required for their job .

It was reported to me that an individual does bring such a knife to work and im not sure how to deal with this , no threats have been made and i suspect someone is trying to cause the person some trouble as recently they have had some disagreements with a fellow worker about work standards.

thank you

Mark

RVThompson  
#2 Posted : 31 October 2019 12:54:02(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
RVThompson

From: https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives

Basic laws on knives

It’s illegal to:

  • sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it has a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less
  • carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife)

That's the legal bit.

If it was on my site, I would speak with HR and the employees' Line Manager - not sure of the employment law side of things about dealing with allegations made by one employee against another.

RVThompson  
#3 Posted : 31 October 2019 13:01:01(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
RVThompson

p.s. there is the basic duty of care providing a safe work place to all. This should give you the reasonable circumstance to ask this particular employee if he is carrying a knife. Is the person making the allegation a truthful person?

Mark 007  
#4 Posted : 31 October 2019 13:12:57(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mark 007

Thanks for the answers , the person who reported this is a notorius bullet loader and for that reason i wish to be very careful how i deal with this . 

Hr have been informed ny me however also seem unsure  of how to deal with this problem 

mark

CptBeaky  
#5 Posted : 31 October 2019 13:30:08(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Surely this is just a case of do you have a policy of allowing "legal" knives to be brought into work? If you do allow them, case closed. If, like most places of work, you do not allow knives to be brought into work you need to make sure this has been communicated to your employees (normally in the employee handbook) and then ensure it is enforced.

I don't care if the person reporting it is a complete bell, if you take no action you could be putting your employees at risk. If the "offender" is innocent then it may be worth reminding the original person that making false accusations is also cause for discipline.

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Mark 007  
#6 Posted : 31 October 2019 14:51:05(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mark 007

cptbeaky

thank you for the reply i tend to agree with you , we do not have any policy regarding this and i will be recommending we do this ASAP .

Thank you for your help

nic168  
#7 Posted : 01 November 2019 10:14:33(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
nic168

Mark, did the person reporting this give any details about the type of knife? many people, myself included, carry penknives/multi- tools. Not as a potential offensive weapon, simply because they are useful.

Not aware of any policies on this- other than don't take them into designated areas and dont leave them on teh desk or meeting room table.

There may be more blades around than you think!

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chris42 on 01/11/2019(UTC), aud on 07/11/2019(UTC)
chris42  
#8 Posted : 01 November 2019 10:50:01(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

I also tend to carry a penknife around with me because it is useful, always have from when I was reasonably young. I have never been tempted to stab anyone with it, I also have never been tempted to stab anyone with a Bic biro (or any other sort of biro). If it is not illegal and not particularly being used for work purpose, then nothing to do with anyone but me what is on my keyring.

Chris

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CptBeaky  
#9 Posted : 01 November 2019 11:00:56(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Originally Posted by: chris42 Go to Quoted Post

I also tend to carry a penknife around with me because it is useful, always have from when I was reasonably young. I have never been tempted to stab anyone with it, I also have never been tempted to stab anyone with a Bic biro (or any other sort of biro). If it is not illegal and not particularly being used for work purpose, then nothing to do with anyone but me what is on my keyring.

Chris

I agree with you on principle, but the point is whether pen knives should be brought into work. We have a policy that they aren't allowed. In the same way that mobile phones aren't allowed. By all means carry one with you when you are out of work, but leave it in your car etc. when you step onto our premises. Just because you have the moral awarness not to stab anybody with it, doesn't mean everyone does. Just because you won't spend the day looking at your phone, doesn't mean everyone won't.

This isn't about personal freedom, it is about workplace rules. As I referred to above, a mobile phone is "legal" but they are still banned in many workplaces.

thanks 4 users thanked CptBeaky for this useful post.
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Kevin Davidson  
#10 Posted : 01 November 2019 12:20:17(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Kevin Davidson

Interesting discussion and here is my opinion for what it's worth, given that the construction industry and its clients have gone some way down the line to ban the use of fixed blade craft knives (Stanley Knives or similar) with a blade less than 3 inches in length in order to avoid serious cuts to hand/fingers/wrists/forearms etc. then why would you have a person carrying a knife on your site which has a longer and possibly just as sharp a blade on it?   For me it makes no difference whether it folds, is classed as a pocket knife and is used for cutting tomatoes and the like in the canteen.  The fact is, if the operative makes a mistake with it you have the risk of a serious cut.  Further to this, there appears to be some friction between the two parties involved and therefore the opportunity to use the knife to cause personal injury, although I'm not suggesting this would happen,  is present.  So unless your employees are carrying them for survival purposes such as Bear Grylls or Ray Mears then I would humbly suggest you remove the knife from the site(s), either by specific site rules or knife policy or both.  

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A Kurdziel on 01/11/2019(UTC), CptBeaky on 01/11/2019(UTC)
chris42  
#11 Posted : 01 November 2019 12:32:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

But if I leave it in the car how will I cut the corner of the sachet of brown source for my bacon roll? Is the company going to give me a scissors? I think not :0)

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CptBeaky on 01/11/2019(UTC)
Zyggy  
#12 Posted : 01 November 2019 13:00:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Zyggy

Kevin mentioned the canteen...can I assume that no knives are used, only chopsticks..:-)?
Kevin Davidson  
#13 Posted : 01 November 2019 13:47:06(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Kevin Davidson

Zyggy there is a subtle difference with cutlery and folding knives in someones pocket and if you wish to use or supply chop sticks then fill yer boots.  The serious issue of this was knives in the workplace and the potential for injury by the user or possble assault.  I take your point on the knives but these are not normally as sharp as a scalpel and normally used for eating meals or as we say in Glasgow "buttering your peece" or if you're  really lucky you may be able to afford jam.

Zyggy  
#14 Posted : 01 November 2019 14:01:15(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Zyggy

Kevin, sorry, two words spring to mind...mountain & molehill. Where are the actual statistics to prove that folding knives have been used to assault fellow workers + in one post it stated that most companies ban them! Well, I have never worked in an organisation where there has been any such ban & have known many colleagues who had pocket knives, including an ex HSE Inspector who was part of my team (although it did cause some embarrassment when he tried to enter the Crown Court with it!). For my part I own a Swiss Army knife...just in case I have to remove something from a horses hoof...:-)
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aud on 07/11/2019(UTC)
Mark-W  
#15 Posted : 01 November 2019 14:15:03(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

I have several knives with me on any given day. I usually have a leatherman on my belt, had it there for over 20yrs while in the Army, sort of feel naked without it now. I then have a slightly bigger, sharper knife in my car. I'm an avid offroad driver/instructor and it's surprising how often it comes in handy. 

I don't think a blanket ban on knives in the workplace will stop people stabbing each other.

A bit like the ban on handguns in the UK. The only people who lost out were the law abiding citizens who surrendered their weapons. The criminals and those with bad intentions still have theirs and have the knowledge of how to get 1.

Kevin Davidson  
#16 Posted : 01 November 2019 14:38:40(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Kevin Davidson

Mark, I take your point, try explaining it to those parents that lost kids in Dunblane one of which happened to be a colleague of mine at the time.  So yes you are sensible and your job may require you to carry these items, no issues with that.  Criminals will always get their hands on weapons/firearms etc. but I'm not so sure their activities are covered by HASWA74 or CDM etc. the original question from 007 was about his particular workplace so there will be differences of opinion and many works where knives will be available, it’s all down to the controls within your organisation, I pointed out what we do in construction and gave my opinion on that.  As for the army if you don't turn up with the correct equipment you won't last long so I understand that.

Ziggy again I take your point but to rely on statistics is only one part of the spectrum and there has been cases in the past where a fellow worker has actually shot and killed their workmates so there is no accounting for when someone will snap.  I'm not sure if any stats on workplace violence between fellow workers is actually recorded and how that violence was carry out e.g. weapons or not?  As you pointed out even an HSE inspector can make a mistake when carrying a knife.  As for horses hooves I'll take your word for it, but I’d suggest with the size of these beast they'd be more hazardous than the swiss army knife. 

A Kurdziel  
#17 Posted : 01 November 2019 14:43:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Can Mark please clarify what sort of knife this person is alleged to be carrying? I myself used to have Swiss Amy knife at work, all of which was useful except ironically the knife blade which either too long or too short to be of any use.

I there is a need to carry a knife then that is ok. I once looked after plant health inspectors who had to get their knives through airport security.

It is really down to the employer to decide whether employees need to carry knives at work. If they do so decide they should really have a policy abut when they’re allowed to carry and use them.  Currently people are getting more and more nervous about anything that can be construed as a “weapon” including knives, a written policy should written to cover this.

A couple years ago I needed a knife and was lent one by a colleague it was only after I returned it that we realised that he had taken the knife into work passed armed police who were guarding a visiting VIP. They were conducting random searches but missed him: that could have been interesting!

I don’t think anyone should carry a knife at work just because they want to.

Edited by user 01 November 2019 14:43:46(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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CptBeaky on 05/11/2019(UTC)
jwk  
#18 Posted : 01 November 2019 14:47:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
jwk

Mmm, so there's a possibility that a penknife could be used as a weapon. Fair comment but here's a question: would you rather be attacked by an assailant wielding:

  1. a swiss army knife
  2. a lump hammer
  3. a crowbar
  4. a fork-lift truck?

No, I'm not being facetious: my point is that if you are seriously concerned about a potential violent incident then deal with it properly. Taking one weapon away won't stop a determined person from finding another, especially in a workplace. Even offices have scissors...

John

Roundtuit  
#19 Posted : 01 November 2019 14:58:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

If the knife is "legal" to be carried and their is no policy where is the issue - there are plenty of other materials that can be used as offensive weapons even in an office - if the reporter believes it to be illegal then as a concerned citizen they should contact the police when the carrier is in a public place after all if there is bad blood between the parties wouldn't they delight watching the police arrest their nemesis.

Psycho  
#20 Posted : 01 November 2019 15:21:50(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Psycho

UK knife law is not understood, its as follows:-

UK knife law allows you to carry non-locking pocket knives with a blade length up to 3 inches (7.62 cm) without any need for a valid reason.

You are allowed to carry a knife which exceeds these guidelines in public, but  you then do need a good reason to carry it.

less than 3inch , non locking thats it, so a locking stanley knife with a 1" blade is illegal unless of course your a carpet fitter

A leatherman is illegal to carry even with plyers as the blade locks but a trusty swiss army knife with non locking blade can be carried into a church on sunday or even a train or bus.

Zyggy  
#21 Posted : 01 November 2019 15:43:18(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Zyggy

Kevin, the Dunblane massacre was a dreadful tragedy, but it relates to firearms, not a folding knife. No policy on earth would have stopped the perpetrator doing what he did in that or any other shooting incidents. As others have already mentioned most workplaces have a myriad of other weapons that could be used which could range from chemicals to roller blind cables used to throttle somebody! I am not in any way being facetious, but just trying to point out that if somebody does have malicious intent, then a knife ban will not make a jot of difference. I have carried out work in the community using football as a way of getting youths off the street where the use of knives is a huge problem, but let's not try & confuse this with penknives in a work environment.
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webstar on 05/11/2019(UTC)
A Kurdziel  
#22 Posted : 01 November 2019 16:03:22(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

So, should someone should be allowed to carry a chainsaw into the office just because they want to and it’s legal?

I know someone who used to manage staff in an abattoir; they managed the use of knives very carefully and you were not allowed to take them away from the cutting lines.

You can use of course use all sorts of things as a weapon but a knife can be concealed and taken into a meeting with a person you have fallen out with unlike a fork lift truck. Furthermore I wold suggest it is easy to threaten someone with a knife rather that a forklift truck.

In some parts of the country (and not just the big cities) carrying a knife for “self-defence” is common practice. I can imagine employers would want to discourage anything that  puts their staff at any sort of unnecessary risk.

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CptBeaky on 05/11/2019(UTC)
jwk  
#23 Posted : 01 November 2019 16:11:37(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
jwk

Originally Posted by: A Kurdziel Go to Quoted Post

So, should someone should be allowed to carry a chainsaw into the office just because they want to and it’s legal?

Well, it's hard to imagine why anybody might need a chainsaw in an office, but they might need some of the swiss army knife tools, or even the blade.

I'm not suggesting that people should be allowed to carry knives: that's very much up to the employer, the nature of the workforce and so on. My comments were about the implication that one of the parties might use the knife on the other one. If that's the case its not really the knife that's the problem,

John

Roundtuit  
#24 Posted : 01 November 2019 16:18:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

My Leatherman does not have a button to release its blade ergo it would not be considered a lock knife

https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q337.htm​​​​​​​

Mark-W  
#25 Posted : 04 November 2019 09:06:01(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Originally Posted by: jwk Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: A Kurdziel Go to Quoted Post

So, should someone should be allowed to carry a chainsaw into the office just because they want to and it’s legal?

Well, it's hard to imagine why anybody might need a chainsaw in an office, but they might need some of the swiss army knife tools, or even the blade.

Not quite in the spirit of the thread but as a young soldier in BAOR we had a troop stores with all sorts of equipment in. Chainsaws being amongst them. We had paperwork to sign them out of the stores.

So when a gobby new soldier was posted into the troop, we'd tell him to take the chainsaw to the Sgt Major as he wanted to do some work over the weekend. We'd show them where on the form the Sgt Maj had to sign but then secretly placed another piece of paper in the envelope. So off he trots to the Sgt Maj's office and hands the paperwork and chainsaw over. Un beknown to them, the new bit of paper had scrawled on it. "give me some leave or I'm going to cut your b***s off"

It was highly amusing to us but not so for the new bloke. 

So going back to the quote, there is sometimes a need for a chainsaw in the office, even if its only to get yourself some extra leave.

PS, This was in the late 80's, I'm sure this doesn't happen in todays modern Army

Edited by user 04 November 2019 09:07:30(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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A Kurdziel  
#26 Posted : 04 November 2019 09:32:13(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

I am not saying that people should never carry knives at work. I have carried penknife and looked after people who carried knives and other dangerous equipment including chainsaws but the issue is what to do if someone is apparently carrying a knife with NO GOOD REASON.

I say apparently as one person might think that carrying a knife in a particular set of circumstances is acceptable while another might feel that it is unnecessary. The solution is to create a policy document that is known to everybody and explains how and when it is acceptable to carry a knife at work.

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Mark-W  
#27 Posted : 04 November 2019 10:10:04(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

When trying to establish wether it's right or wrong to have a ban on carrying a knife at work, you have to look at the work being undertaken.

So if you a company that is office based then the office staff have no need for a knife, but if within that company they have a FM team, then carying a knife is something that I would deem acceptable.

So to simply say no knives is a bit harsh.

After reading this thread, I decided to try a week or so without my leatherman on my belt. I'll let you know how I cope and how many times I'll reach for it and if I truly need a knife rather than using it as an easy solution to my issues at the time.

Bigmac1  
#28 Posted : 04 November 2019 10:30:44(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Bigmac1

Originally Posted by: chris42 Go to Quoted Post

But if I leave it in the car how will I cut the corner of the sachet of brown source for my bacon roll? Is the company going to give me a scissors? I think not :0)

Chris I hope that was a tongue in cheek comment.

Leave your knife at home 

chris42  
#29 Posted : 04 November 2019 10:44:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

I have not owned a Leatherman but do like small knives, so bought its counterpart which ws Gruber make multi tool. However, that locks into position as do most folding knives, to prevent them folding back on your own fingers! Surprised the leather man does not. You normally have to press the spine spring at the other end from the blade to close, or push a piece of spring steel on the side to release. In the case of my Opinel knife, there is a bezel at the top to turn to lock and unlock (designed to be opened and closed with just one hand).  So it locking open is a safety feature LOL

In the office -banding around copy paper, open letters, dirt from under fingernails, parcels with way too much tape, corner off brown source packet, getting past some food packaging, but mainly because I want to. (yes, I clean it after cleaning dirt out of nails and before opening food)

Nope not completely tongue in cheek, I have used it to cut corners off. It is called a pocket knife for a reason, the one in my car I call a “car knife”.

Chris

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Mark-W on 04/11/2019(UTC)
ttxela  
#30 Posted : 04 November 2019 10:53:49(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
ttxela

I guess the world has moved on recently, a decade or so back I always carried a locking folding knife in my pocket and it came in handy for all sorts of purposes throughout the day. I wouldn't dream of it now, just because of societal change rather than any deterioration in my personal temperament (although my wife does say I'm grumpier these days).

I'm not aware of any policies at work that would prevent me carrying a legal knife around with me. I think unless you have such a policy or the fellow has threatened someone with it then it's a non-issue. If it makes people sufficiently uncomfortable perhaps you'll have to introduce a policy.

Hsquared14  
#31 Posted : 04 November 2019 11:19:03(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

Quite regardless of any legal issues surrounding carrying of knives an employer can make whatever rules they like with regard to carrying of knives in the workplace.  So if your employer wants to prohibit people from carrying knives of any sort then they can.   I work in a sector where Knives are not allowed (prisons) so to me it is clear cut (no pun intended) no one has any need of knife when in the work place and no one should carry a knife, no exceptions, no lee way - NO KNIVES!!

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Mark-W  
#32 Posted : 04 November 2019 11:27:20(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

I have a good friend who is a prison officer, he's a nighmare to get hold of as he can't have a mobile with him either. I get the reson why but it is frustrating

Roundtuit  
#33 Posted : 04 November 2019 11:39:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

https://www.leatherman.co.uk/heritage-pst/553.html?dwvar_553_color=10#start=23

No buttons - the original production was way cheaper

Mark-W  
#34 Posted : 04 November 2019 11:50:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Originally Posted by: Roundtuit Go to Quoted Post

https://www.leatherman.co.uk/heritage-pst/553.html?dwvar_553_color=10#start=23

No buttons - the original production was way cheaper

WOW thats somew price tag for a leatherman. I still have mine I purchased 20+ years ago

jmaclaughlin  
#35 Posted : 04 November 2019 15:04:08(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
jmaclaughlin

What happens if this person manages to cut himself with this knife at work, who is responsible?

Roundtuit  
#36 Posted : 04 November 2019 15:37:58(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

That depends upon what they were doing, how they were instructed to do it (if at all) and more specifcally for a work activity with what.

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jwk on 04/11/2019(UTC)
A Kurdziel  
#37 Posted : 04 November 2019 16:32:15(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

We had people preparing food samples for testing and this meant cutting things up into smaller pieces.  So we put them onto a knife skills course.

achrn  
#38 Posted : 05 November 2019 08:14:28(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: jmaclaughlin Go to Quoted Post

What happens if this person manages to cut himself with this knife at work, who is responsible?

For what it's worth, I did have someone cut themselves with their own penknife in theoffice a couple of years back.  They were responsible.  They did it to themselves, so who else would be responsible?  How could anyone else be held responsible in any way? They also got bollocked because they cut themselves when they were trying to fix an electrical flex that was damaged, and we do have policies saying not to do that.

I carry a penknife, and pretty much always have (I boght the Victorinox 'swiss army knife' I have within reach most of the time more than 30 years ago), I only leave it behind when flying.  I use the knife blades less than other functions, in general. 

I agree that an employer can ban pretty much  anything they like on their premises, but if they haven't put in place a policy then I see no grounds for getting upset that someone has a (legal) knife with them. There are lots of things I could hurt myself with (or attack others with) but if I wanted to go berserk I'd be much more likely to go at someone by swinging an office chair than by brandishing the little blade on my penknife.

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WatsonD  
#39 Posted : 05 November 2019 10:00:19(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
WatsonD

Its quite clear that is not illegal, however, as an employer you have to decide whether it is something you want to take a stand on. From your post it seems it is not something you have considered before, so my only suggestion to you would be to think long and hard about why you feel you need to make a stand now. It is not in response to any accidents or incidents at work, and the precedent you may be setting here is to become a puppet in your employees personal games of 'one-upmanship'. Did you ask the person reporting how they know this guy has a knife? Has he been threatening with it, or yielding it around?

I myself carry a swiss army knife on a keyring with my house keys. I keep it on my coat pocket and have also never really considered this an issue. It comes in handy sometimes, and in the construction environment I work in is somewhat 'small-fry' considering the eye watering plethora of potential offensive weapons at my disposal should I wish to maim or kill my colleagues. It is, amongst othe things, very handy for opening the many 'blind bag' toys my children love to buy.

So as you can see you will find differing opinions on here. In my current workplace where employees are required to carry and use tools, it would be a pointless exercise that wouldn't win the support of my Directors. However, perhaps within a different workplace environmnet I may feel that I would need to consider the implications of banning personal knives, but I would need to ask: why? what does it acheive? Are the risk real or perceived? i.e. am I banning something 'just because'. How will this policy be enforced? Etc.

Good luck with your decisions.

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aud on 07/11/2019(UTC)
CptBeaky  
#40 Posted : 05 November 2019 10:01:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Surely if there is a "need" for you to carry a knife at work, the company should supply that knife. by doing this they ensure the correct tool is being used for the job. That the Risk Assessment relates to the toll being used. And, there is a procedure for checking and replacing broken/dulled knives.

I just can't see any reason for allowing knives to be brought into work. I don't care if they are legal knives or not. I don't care if there are more deadly things on the premises or not. The difference is that as H&S professionals we are meant to be in control of the risks. The moment you allow others to bring unchecked hazards onto a site you are losing control. Chainsaws may be more dangerous, but you don't allow people to just walk into the store and pick up a chainsaw. The same goes for forklifts etc.

And please don't start with the "it only punishes innocent people". That is contrary to all statistics. If that is the case, explain gun crime in the US. Austrailia drastically increased controls after a school shooting, and amazingly enough they stopped!

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A Kurdziel on 05/11/2019(UTC)
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