Preventing sharp accidents in the OR with the right tool

Preventing sharp accidents in the OR with the right tool

Every year, more than 1 million healthcare workers in the EU are victims of a sharp accident[1]. In Belgium, there are 9.4 accidental blood contacts per 100 occupied beds[2]. The fatigue and increased work pressure due to the coronapandemic, steered these figures even further in the wrong direction. [3]

Most sharp accidents occur in the operating theatre, as sharp objects are difficult to avoid there.

A reliable and proven method of preventing prick and cut accidents is to apply the "Hierarchy of Controls". Originally developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the US, the hierarchy of controls is now prescribed in workplace safety regulations around the world. The hierarchy consists of five levels of measures to reduce potential risks, ranked by priority and effectiveness.

The most effective way to prevent sharp accidents is to avoid or replace the object, but this is not always possible. Certainly not in the OR, where scalpels and other sharp instruments are needed for incisions, among other things. Here, technical aids (Engeneering Controls) are the most effective, feasible control measure. International research shows that the use of safety devices, in combination with education and training, can reduce the risk of needlestick injuries by as much as 93%. [4]

In particular, these technical devices include safety mechanisms designed to isolate or remove the hazard from the environment.

Qlicksmart's BladeFLASK provides a safe and quick way to remove, store and dispose of used scalpel blades. This tool complies with all international guidelines and is the safest choice for your OR.

BladeFLASK removes scalpel blades in one click and with only one hand, preventing dangerous injuries caused by removing blades with fingers, forceps or packaging. BladeFLASK can safely store up to 100 blades and automatically indicates when the maximum capacity has been reached.

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[1] Press release 'Prikongevallenpreventie in Europa: een steekproef', IDEWE, 15-10-2018

[2] Latest available national figures (2010) from the EPINet (Exposure Prevention Information Network) database


[4] De Carli G et al. The importance of implementing safe sharps practices in the laboratory setting in Europe. Biochem Med 2014;24(1):45–56