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Best method for sterilizing plastics - (Aug/24/2013 )

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Thanks Phil, We are restricted by the nature of the business to use ear plugs for one day. We must keep them in a box if leaving the production area. We are not thinking of recycling the plug itself, just the box therefore the chance of irritation is small. Surely ethanol, as previously mentioned in an earlier reply, would sterilise the box. With the kind help from all who replied I now have a plan in place using 70% ethanol which will be delivered by our chemical supplier and the residue uplifted and disposed by them also. We will obviously monitor for any reaction. Thanks again everyone for your inputs

I wonder: how come you cant re-use the plugs?

-pito-

Ethanol does not and will not sterilize. Does the box house plugs during the day when folks leave manufacturing area for lunch, breaks, etc.?  I do hope folks are using their same ear plugs that do not contact those of other workers in this container.  If not, this is clearly an unsanitary practice.

Pito, in use, it's cheaper to use disposable plugs.  They're fairly easily lost or misplaced and, as the 1st concern is worker safety rather than costs, you want to have a surplus supply readily at hand.  Same with safety glasses.

-Phil Geis-

Ethanol does not and will not sterilize. Does the box house plugs during the day when folks leave manufacturing area for lunch, breaks, etc.?  I do hope folks are using their same ear plugs that do not contact those of other workers in this container.  If not, this is clearly an unsanitary practice.

Pito, in use, it's cheaper to use disposable plugs.  They're fairly easily lost or misplaced and, as the 1st concern is worker safety rather than costs, you want to have a surplus supply readily at hand.  Same with safety glasses.

I dont know...

 

If you have personal made earplugs (you have 2-3 in the end, not just 1 pair) you can re-use them many many times.. I think that in the long run it will be cheaper...

And of course there is a need of back up, trow away plugs anyway.

 

 

+ most of the time they are better, nicer to wear.

 

When it comes to losing them: most of them have a wire so they hang around your neck or even attached to your helmets, so its hard to lose them.

ANd in the end: people should take care of their material...

-pito-

thanks Pito.  Again - it is false economy.  I think you'd understand if you'd worked extensively in manufacturing environments (no insult, just don't think your comment displays that experience).

-Phil Geis-

thanks Pito.  Again - it is false economy.  I think you'd understand if you'd worked extensively in manufacturing environments (no insult, just don't think your comment displays that experience).

True.

 

However, my dad has a company where they now use re-usable earplugs and the first results do show its cheaper in the long run. However: you are right, the biggest problem is that some of the workers just lose the plugs pretty fast.

 

So you think that in the long run too many people will lose their plugs too often? Or any other reasons why trow away plugs are cheaper?

-pito-

I think most workers use no more than 2 or 3 a day.  You also must address the safety of other persons entering the manufacturing area - persons who do not normally work there.  It's such a small expense and worker safety is so important that there really isn't that much of a question in my mind.  Just in economics, costs associated with just one worker injury will wipe out the paltry savings of reuse - and these are your coworkers and friends at risk.  Don't think workers aren't aware of this either - even tho' the risk is minor, they'll know the inconvenience that tempts them occasionally to go without this PPE is based on savings in the pennies.   

-Phil Geis-

Ethanol does not and will not sterilize.

 

Sure it will not sterilise but disinfect the plastics (as the other chemicals too). I'm quite sure that the topic starter meant this as sterilisation and disinfection is often mixed up in colloquial language. Perhaps we should have mentioned that before. Anyway for sterilising usually you e.g. autoclave stuff which would be here like "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut". wink.png

-hobglobin-

These are flexible porous or bladed devices that will be soiled with ear wax.  Ethanol can not be relied on to disinfect or sterilize, esp. vs some viruses.  

-Phil Geis-

These are flexible porous or bladed devices that will be soiled with ear wax.  Ethanol can not be relied on to disinfect or sterilize, esp. vs some viruses.  

As far as I remember the storage boxes and not the ear plugs itself should be disinfected or sterilized. If the ears and then the boxes are that dirty add a drop of detergent.

Anyway even a stronger detergent such as SDS should be good enough to avoid cross-contamination as it is a microbicide too. It's a small company not a S2 or S3 laboratory.

Only if someone has an ear infection I'd be careful and heavily disinfect the boxes with a stronger agent (or give the person a separate one).

-hobglobin-

Still not sure of the dynamics - whose ear plugs go in what box(es) and when, when they're removed, when the attempt at disinfection is made and who is responsible to do that repeatedly and adequately, how you'll assure being alerted to ear infection - presuming the person knows - and what will be done then, etc.  Please recall this is a matter of employee health, employer liability and savings pennies.  Placing a person in charge of this negates the paltry savings and deferring to employees themselves to do it will mean it's not going to be done. The greater issue is anything that inconveniences employee use of PPE. As I said, I don't think too many have practical experience in these matters. 

 

I've worked in industry for decades and now consult - I've seen only disposable ear plugs and safety glasses

 

Appreciate the best guesses of ethanol and now surfactants.  they sound reasonable but will likely not sustain efficacy in practice.  SDS in controlled application does have some microbicidal effect, in repeated and dilute applications in soiled context, it will probably have bugs adapted in a biofilm.

-Phil Geis-
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