5 Safety Tips for Handling Sharps More Effectively

5 Safety Tips for Handling Sharps More Effectively

Learning about sharps safety the hard way is no fun for anyone. In a recent article published by Outpatient Surgery magazine, surgical technologist Sherri Alexander, CST, FAST, CRCST, shared her top five tips for limiting risk when passing scalpel blades, needles and other surgical instruments.

Below is a breakdown of each of her sharp-safe tips:

  1. Look Before You Reach. Things happen fast during surgery and cleanup. Other surgical staff members may lay things down while you are looking the other way. By always looking before you reach, you can ensure that your fingers aren’t nicked by a sharp that you could have sworn wasn’t there a few seconds ago.  
  2. Keep Sharps Organized in a Standard Fashion. Placing sharps and needles in the same place every time helps to eliminate surprises and ensures that you know where the sharps are at all times.
  3. Always Look When Passing. Because it is the surgeon’s job to keep an eye on the surgical site, you have to keep your eye on sharps whenever they are passed. Never look back at the table when passing or receiving a surgical tool. 
  4. Take a Break From Multi-Tasking. Multi-tasking is common and often expected during surgery. The one exception to this is when passing surgical tools. During the few seconds it takes to make a safe exchange, focus on nothing else.
  5. Pay Close Attention during Cleanup. Just because you made it through surgery nick-free doesn’t mean accidents can’t happen during clean-up and room turnover. Be sure to change sharps containers when they are three-quarters full to protect yourself and others from overflow sticks.

You can learn more by reading the full article here.