FEATURE ARTICLESThe Effect of Temperature, Needle Gauge, and Wall Thickness on Force Required for Needles to Puncture Sharps ContainersGrimmond, Terry FASM, BAgrSc, GrDpAdEd Author Information Terry Grimmond, FASM, BAgrSc, GrDpAdEd, 3 Tarbett Rd Hillcrest, Hamilton 3216, New Zealand ([email protected]). Terry Grimmond, FASM, BAgrSc, GrDpAdEd, is director of Grimmond and Associates, Microbiology Consultants, Hamilton, New Zealand. He is also a consultant to the healthcare industry in the fields of sharps injury prevention, sharps safety devices, waste management, and sustainability. This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. Three of the author’s clients produce and/or market sharps containers. No client initiated, funded, reviewed, sighted, or had any input into the content, methodology, or write-up of this study. Journal of Clinical Engineering: April/June 2014 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 71-75 doi: 10.1097/JCE.0000000000000021 Buy Metrics Abstract Healthcare workers sustain sharps injuries in many ways including via needles penetrating sharps containers (SCs). Few published data exist on the parameters affecting SCs puncturing. This study examined the effect on puncture force of varying 5 needle gauges, 3 temperatures, and 3 container-wall thicknesses. Puncturing was significantly easier with higher temperatures, finer needles, and thinner walls. Puncture forces as low as 5.2 N indicate that with high temperatures and finer needles, 44% of containers would not meet the 15 N required by ISO, and 66% would not meet 20 N. Tougher puncture testing procedures need to be considered as modern engineering and technology enable safer SCs to be produced. © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.