Safety Memo

Safety Department

Your safety department can protect employee hearing and mitigate the costly liabilities associated with exposures to Noise Induced hearing loss (NIHL), Standard Threshold Shifts (STS), and Ototoxins with Sert-A-Plug an innovative patented risk aversion safety tool.

Sert-A-Plug is the new standard in achieving hearing protection compliance, and can make your employees safer and more productive.

Many employees choose disposable soft foam earplugs (DSFE) to protect their hearing. DSFE represent the #1 hearing protection device in the industrial sector. Unfortunately DSFE have some very costly problems inherent with hand application including:

  • Inefficient hand fitting contributes to employee exposure to NIHL and STS leading to man-hour loss, worker compensation claims, insurance premium increases.
  • Ear infections attributed to soiled earplugs from dirt, oils, metals and bacteria increase man-hour loss and workers compensation claims.
  • Production loss from excessive time employees take to properly fit DSFE.

Hearing Is Priceless!

Sert-A-Plug is reusable and fits most of your current foam earplug inventory.

Industrial Ear Plug Applicator

Our Sert-A-Plug Commitment:

Safety departments are encouraged to monitor employee usage and response as verification of Sert-A-Plug’s superior performance and efficiency in fitting foam earplugs. Incorporate Sert-A-Plug into your hearing loss prevention program and we will include your company into our safety department customer service marketing initiative. Contact us and we will closely monitor your inventory, and employee usage to identify your company’s unique hearing protection needs and to provide your safety department with a superior customer service experience.

Sert-A-Plug is your best frontline tool in the workplace to protect the health and hearing of your employees and your company bottom-line.

Sert-A-Plug…”Because It’s Loud Out There!”


Selected Idea of the OSHA/NIOSH/MSHA Prestigious 2016 Hear And Now Noise Safety Challenge Awards.

Hear and Now Noise Safety Challenge Winners: Part 2 of 3

Posted on by Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA and Amanda Terminello, MPH

Every year 22 million workers are at risk of losing their hearing from workplace noise hazards. Work-related hearing loss is a widespread problem, but it is a problem that can be solved. On August 1, 2016, NIOSH, OSHA, and MSHA issued a challenge to inventors and entrepreneurs with the dual goals of inspiring creative ideas and raising business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation. More than 30 entries were submitted and the top ten were invited to present their ideas at the Hear and Now Noise Safety Challenge event on October 27, 2016. A panel of judges consisting of business experts, investors, and innovation specialists listened to pitches, asked questions, and selected three winners based on the assumed effectiveness of the solution combined with its commercial viability. This blog entry is the second in a three-part series summarizing the solutions presented by the Challenge winners and finalists. References to products or services do not constitute an endorsement by NIOSH or the U.S. government.

Finalist: John Johnson

Industrial and environmental management is more than a profession to John Johnson; it has been his passion and lifelong adventure for over four decades. So he was delighted when his son Shawn Johnson took up this interest, and together they created and operated an industrial and environmental management company for over 10 years. While working on a related project, John Johnson suffered a serious ear infection as a result of a contaminated foam earplug. The pain and discomfort he experienced made him not want to use foam ear plugs ever again. Shawn, inspired by his father’s ordeal and passion, sought to develop a remedy that would help his father – and others –to use foam earplugs in a hygienic manner. After some research and several design renditions, the prototyped remedy would be called Sert-A-Plug.

It became a father and son dream project with John Johnson working alongside his two sons, Shawn and Joshua, to have their product patented and available on the hearing protection market. Together they founded the J3 Group LLC of Portland, Oregon. They teamed up with another father-son duo Gary Anderson, former President of the Port Engineers Association, and his son, Mark Anderson, an industrial safety manager, as well as Tony O’Dierno, a financial adviser and CPA. As a Native-American owned and operated company, they have also benefited greatly from support from the Business Department of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon.

Photo courtesy of Sert-A-Plug

At the Hear and Now Challenge Event, Mr. Johnson represented his team as a proud father and business partner. He demonstrated the Sert-A-Plug applicator, describing it as a “complement and companion to disposable earplugs,” as it is designed to improve upon the most common form of hearing protection, foam earplugs. The Sert-A-Plug applicator enables users to place the tip of the earplug at the opening of the ear canal for each ear and for every fit without ever having to “roll and hold” the earplug with their fingers. Mr. Johnson claimed that the Sert-A-Plug both reduces the risk of contamination from manual insertion and ensures reliable and consistent protection from foam earplugs. He said this “simplistic and inexpensive” product is recyclable and fits most of the earplugs on the market today.

Sert-A-Plug is currently patented in the U.S. Mr. Johnson and his team are exploring licensing and partnership agreements, as well as additional opportunities to support and grow their product.

More about this Hear and Now Challenge finalist, including contact information, is available at the following website:

Watch next week for the final installment in this series.

Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA, is a technical advisor in NIOSH’s Research to Practice Office and an assistant coordinator for NIOSH’s Small Business Assistance Program.

Amanda Terminello, MPH, is a Public Health Advisor in NIOSH’s Research to Practice Office.

Posted on by Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA and Amanda Terminello, MPH