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Automatic Retractable Blade Knife: Smart Safety at Work

Hand using an automatic retractable blade knife, Slice’s 10558
The Slice 10558 automatic retractable blade knife helps prevent injuries.

Just what is the big deal about an automatic retractable blade knife, anyway? There’ve been auto-retracting knives on the market forever, right? Absolutely! Those are the ones that your workers love to circumvent by taping the retracting mechanism so they don’t have to hold it open (and the blade is always exposed).

“Ah, that’s better! Now my hand and wrist aren’t hurting from holding that thing open!” With that worker attitude, what’s a frustrated safety manager to do? You’d think that they’d be aware that they’re risking a laceration injury, wouldn’t you?

The trouble is, workers don’t generally stop to think about safety. They’re too busy working. Having an annoying tool, where the blade’s always disappearing into the handle is frustrating. “How am I supposed to get my work done?”, goes the thinking. 

But, here’s the thing: used correctly, auto-retracting knives do reduce the number of laceration injuries. They’re excellent tools for keeping rebellious workers safe, in spite of themselves. And, of course, It’s up to the safety manager to determine how to maintain a safe workplace.

Another part of the safety manager’s job is to keep up with safer tool innovations, and provide the safest possible options. Here’s some great news: the auto-retracting knife has been through a sea change and has taken the control of blade exposure out of the hands of the workers and given it, instead, to the knife, itself. It does this by using a new, smarter, self-retracting mechanism. 

Slice®’s 10558 Smart-Retracting Utility Knife provides this added measure of safety. We decided to call it “smart-retracting” because it’s almost as if the knife has a brain. It takes you one step beyond the old auto-retracting technology to keep workers safer.

The blade in this new version self-retracts the instant the blade loses contact with the surface being cut, even if the slider is held open. This feature nullifies that “tape it open” workaround. Let the knife outsmart your workers, for a change! 

What Is a Self-Retracting Knife?

The new self-retracting knife style takes utility knife safety to a new level, offering the safest retraction method. The user first engages the blade. Once exposed, the pressure of the blade against the material keeps the blade out of its housing. The moment that pressure is released, the blade retracts, even if the user is still holding the knife’s slider. 

Self-retraction protects against accidental lacerations in case there is a slip during cutting. It also prevents any attempt to bypass blade retraction by taping the blade slider open. Loss of cutting pressure equals instant blade self-retraction. Simple. Effective. Safe.

The self-retraction mechanism costs a bit more, but when you compare the price of this exponentially safer tool to the cost of even a single laceration (incurred from an unsafe utility knife), one thing becomes crystal clear. The tens of thousands of dollars you pay in both direct and indirect costs after a laceration injury far outweigh the slightly increased price of a safer tool. This investment in worker safety is definitely cost effective.

Slice Goes Above and Beyond With Ergo Pull 

The 10558 Smart-Retracting Utility Knife is hard to adequately describe in words. Seeing it in action, however, it’s immediately clear how effective it is at preventing accidental lacerations. Take a look at this video:

Remember why your workers were so persistent in taping the blade open? Yes, they wanted the blade exposed all the time, but they were also experiencing pain from holding that slider in the open position. Slice always has an eye out for ways to improve the safety of its tools, continuously re-evaluating existing safety features and innovating to make better ergonomic designs.

In looking at existing auto-retracting knives, it became clear that there was room for improvement in how the user engaged the blade. The traditional method is to push a button or slider forward with a thumb while simultaneously pulling backwards to make a cut. It became clear that this pushing-while-pulling action was causing ligament and muscle strain and an awkward inward rotation of the wrist. 

Ergo Pull™

This was a recipe for repetitive strain injuries, due to excessive rotational force on the wrist and an awkward grip angle. Independent tests of Slice’s 10558 compared to standard auto-retracting utility knives confirmed that pulling a slider reduces muscular tension while cutting.

Ergo Pull™ slider

Ergo Pull™ engages the blade by pulling the slider mechanism backwards with the thumb. This eliminates the forward positioning of the thumb on the handle and prevents the inward rotation of the wrist. Not only does this reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury, it also gives the worker a more secure, safer, grip on this ergonomic utility knife.

In addition to the self-retraction of the 10558 Smart-Retracting Utility Knife, and the comfort of the Ergo Pull™ technology, this innovative utility knife uses our finger-friendly® safety blades that have the following characteristics: 

  • Stay sharp 11 times longer than metal blades
  • Reduce injuries and lower costs
  • Non-sparking
  • Non-conductive 
  • Chemically inert 
  • Never rust

Our blades are made from 100 percent zirconium oxide. Their safe-to-the-touch edge results from our proprietary double-angle grind.

If you’re a safety manager tasked with protecting workers, you know the importance of providing them the safest tools possible and advocating for wider investment in safety throughout the company. An automatic retractable blade knife can be your silent safety partner in meeting both these goals. 

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