One of the most dangerous tools we use as window cleaners would have to be the humble razor blade. While being an indispensible part of our tool kit they can inflict serious and potentially life threatening injuries. Being aware of the danger sometimes just isn’t enough. What can we do to minimize the risk?
Slow Down!
Perhaps the best way to safely use razors is to make sure we take our time while using them. Often as window cleaners we are driven by an hourly goal. While that in itself is admirable there are times where we must put that mindset in check. Using blades is one of those times. Often we find ourselves almost in auto pilot – wet the glass, squeegee, detail, and repeat. Once the razor comes out the auto pilot should go off.
Don’t Forget the Cover
Every razor comes with a cover or other means for keeping the blade safely hidden. There are also a variety of holsters and holders that offer the same protection. A possible exception might be those 1 ½ “blades some window cleaners use for touch ups. In the old days a cleaner might use the Van Gough carrying method (small blade held behind the ear) or even holding those small blades in their mouth. There really is no reason ever to use these methods. Especially since there are many different styles of magnetic holders out there for these blades. Whatever blade we use make sure that when it’s not in use it is covered in some manner.
Changing Out Blades
When talking about the dangers involved we can’t forget the most dangerous time – changing the blades. This is the time when all the cutting edges of the blade are completely exposed. Never, never, never change the blade when up on a ladder! Always make sure you have your full attention on what you are doing and your feet securely on the ground when it’s time to change your razor blade.
“They Call Me Lefty”
These may seem like simple tips that should be common sense but how many high school shop teachers do you know that are missing fingers and have the nick name “Lefty”? Common sense may not be so common at times. When we rush common sense can become a casualty and so can we.