Cutting tools: give lacerations the cut

Slice Inc.

By TJ Scimone*
Tuesday, 01 May, 2018


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Lacerations are one of the most common injuries sustained in the workplace. The good news is that lacerations are largely preventable, given the right training and the right equipment. As concerns the latter, safety managers the world over are continually on the hunt for the safest safety knife — and we believe that search ends with Slice®.

Why focusing on lacerations is important

Before talking about box cutters and blades, it’s important to give a brief look at why laceration prevention should be a key workplace safety focus.

First off, cuts hurt. Even small lacerations, like a paper cut, can be irritatingly painful for days. More serious lacerations not only cause pain, but they can lead to severed connective tissue or nerves, and permanent damage. This can require hospital visits, surgery and follow-up care.

While any serious cut is best avoided, cuts to the hand can have a particularly bad impact on workers, sidelining or handicapping them for days, weeks, even months. What job doesn’t require you to use your hands?

For the employer, lacerations are shockingly expensive, once you consider all of the direct and indirect costs. In addition to the possible increase in insurance or workers compensation premiums, any injury disrupts productivity. There is also the cost of paid time off, if so required, and hiring temporary help (or overburdening existing staff) to fill in for the injured party.

The bottom line is that preventing lacerations should be a safety priority. You can get a jump on that by switching to Slice.

The only finger-friendly® blade

In the world of safety knives, the primary focus has been on handle design and reducing blade exposure. Certainly, these are steps in the right direction, but they don’t get to the part of the cutter that does the damage: the blade.

Slice is the only company to create a safety blade. All Slice blades, from our utility knife blades to our box cutter blades and beyond, are made out of 100% zirconium oxide, an advanced ceramic. The blades feature Slice’s proprietary grind, which is finger-friendly — much safer to touch than a traditional blade.

Note that other companies use advanced ceramics for their blades, but they are still dangerously sharp out of the box; the same is true for metal blades. There is a lot of misinformation about ceramic blades out there: they are often lumped together when considering pros and cons, but all ceramic blades are not created equal. Buyer beware.

While zirconium oxide is much harder than steel, some ceramic blades use different materials, or less than 100% zirconia. Blade thickness and design matters, too. Tests of Slice blades show that they last up to 11 times longer than steel. This makes them great value. It also means fewer blade changes, which adds another element of safety: cuts are more likely to happen when you’re handling a blade.

Being that metal is relatively soft, it dulls quickly, which is why it’s overly sharp out of the box. An overly sharp blade is particularly dangerous. On the flip side, a dull blade is also a dangerous blade, as more force is necessary to perform a cut. And dull blades still pose a hazard, so must be disposed of in a sharps box. Slice blades do not require such extra care.

Ceramic blades have many other upsides. Here’s a list of just a few:

  • Never rust
  • Anti-static
  • Non-sparking
  • Non-conductive
  • Slice handles prioritise safety, too
  • Ergonomic design

Slice handles prioritise safety, too

Ergonomic design

Slice offers a full line of cutting tools and for each we worked with world-class designers to reassess handle design. The result is that all of our tools are ergonomic, with several featuring uncommon or unique designs. Ergonomic tools reduce muscle strain and thus the chance of fatigue and repetitive stress injuries.

Take, for instance, the Slice box cutter, which features our J-hook design. The wraparound shape fits naturally in the hand and facilitates an easy cutting motion. It also protects the hand from any protruding objects such as staples.

An uncommon design Slice added to its line-up for more detailed cutting is the Precision Knife. The finger loop handle positions the blade to be an extension of the index finger for excellent control. Slice also employs more traditional forms when it makes good design sense, as with the Slice utility knives.

A common feature of all Slice handles is a surface that ensures a good grip, which reduces the chance of slipping.

Retracting handles

When the cutting tool industry looked toward creating safer options, they landed on the retractable handle. Many cutters feature handles that either offer fixed retraction or auto-retraction. Fixed-retraction handles have a slider that the user must engage and push forward to expose the blade. To return the blade to its retracted position, the user must again engage the slider and pull the blade back into the handle.

Auto-retractable handles require the user to keep the slider engaged at all times to keep the blade exposed. If ever the user loses contact with the slider, say if they drop the utility knife, the blade automatically returns to its recessed position inside the handle.

Slice offers both a fixed-retractable and auto-retractable box cutter. The same holds for the utility knives, but in the utility knife design, Slice also offers its smart-retracting handle, the ultimate in safety.

This model operates much like its auto-retracting cousin, in that the slider must be engaged to keep the blade exposed. Additionally, the blade must be in contact with the material being cut. If there is no cutting pressure on the blade, it will retract, even if the slider is engaged. This lowers the chance of an injury if the user’s hand slips during a cut.

Are you ready to reduce (or eliminate) lacerations?

At Slice we routinely get feedback from customers about how much they enjoy the greater safety of our tools as well as the longevity of our blades and the natural fit of our handles. Several companies have shared their success stories, reporting a reduction in, or complete elimination of, lacerations.

We would love to hear about your Slice experiences, too.

*TJ Scimone founded Slice, Inc. in 2008 with a goal of creating safer cutting tools. Working with internationally recognised designers, he’s done just that. Slice offers a unique line of tools, all of which are ergonomic and feature finger-friendly blades. We also publish a Workplace Safety Blog for health and safety professionals around the world.

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