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  • Writer's pictureRobert Morgan

Supply Shortage of Disposable Plugs?

Could we be facing a supply shortage and soaring prices for disposable ear plugs in the not too distant future?

This ubiquitous but essential piece of PPE has been taken for granted since the beginning of time as an inexpensive solution to hearing damage on the work site. But this nonchalant attitude may be up for review as not even this tiny piece of throw away foam is immune from the rising costs and supply chain disruptions being experienced worldwide.

As a petroleum product, the disposable earplug's manufacturing costs have a direct link and subject to swings in the international price of oil. It's only a mater of time before the recent rise in oil prices will be reflected in the price.

And then there's the supply chain issues. Are we confident that we will be able to continue to order supplies and have them delivered a few days later? Could you imagine being a large construction company ordering 50 boxes of disposable earplugs only to be told that the delivery time would be 6-8 weeks? What would the consequences of that be and how could the construction companies and industry at large have avoided this vulnerability?

One of the best ways for companies to hedge this risk would be to shift from reliance on disposable ear plugs to adopting custom molded ear plugs instead. Disposable plugs will always play their limited role in the work place but custom ear plugs with a service life of five years or more could be applied to the vast majority of permanent workers. Custom earplugs offer all day comfort and assure full protection every time. Not only do workers benefit through more effective protection but there is a substantial cost savings as well. A short while ago the break even point for custom vs. disposable plugs was 18 months or so but with the increases in the price of oil this time frame has been shortened considerably. If disruption in supply chains are factored in, the disposable plug may become not even be a viable option.

Momemtum Nursing Services is located in Saskatoon and can produce and deliver custom molded ear plugs in 1-3 days because the impressions and final finishing is done locally. For larger companies we can travel to your site in both Saskatoon and surrounding areas or impressions can be made at our office at The Broadway Health Collective in Saskatoon. To have your impressions made book a free 30 minute appointment at her office by calling Denise Holmlund at 306-361-4355.

It's time to take a more active role in managing corporate risk while ensuring worker safety.

If you would like more information please contact Robert Morgan at 306-717-8380.

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