GME Blog

Climb Higher - A blog about Tower Climbing Safety Gear

  1. Custom Kitting with Gear Experts®

    GME Supply Custom Kits

    Having to flip through a handful of catalogs or thousands of web pages to find the gear you and your crew need can be time-consuming. That’s why our Gear Experts® have created tower climbing kits and can help you create custom kits that will save you time and make your job of buying a range of equipment easier and more cost-effective. These kits have a lot to offer.

     

    Custom Kits Save


    The custom kitting process is easy and typically takes only a few minutes to get a quote. First, you’ll start off by answering a few questions from one of our Gear Experts®. They have years of experience helping a variety of crews and they truly care about your business. They’re going to put in the effort to learn and understand your specific needs. 

    Attention to detail ensures your crew will be safe and fully compliant.

     

    Increased Safety

    Kitting allows you to train your crew on the same equipment. Training your crew on the same gear adds a higher level of safety for many reasons.

    Working with unfamiliar devices can add time to any task and can sometimes lead to accidents. It’s especially important for your whole team to understand how to handle another crew member’s gear in a rescue situation.

    If everyone is using the same gear there will be much less room for confusion. When your crew is properly trained and comfortable working with their equipment they’ll handle these difficult situations quickly and safely.

     

    Saving Time and Lowering Costs

    The benefits we’ve already mentioned are designed to lower the overhead cost of managing your crew. Buying components in a kit will also save you time when placing an order and when receiving a shipment.

    You don't have to wait on different shipping schedules for every single item when you buy a kit. Buying gear separately might not be a big issue on one or two items, but when you buy several things for multiple crew members those wait times can be a headache.

     

    Invoicing and Inventory Control

    If you plan on reordering your custom kit we can set up your kit with a custom part number. The part number can be invoiced as one line item to simplify the reordering process. This will save time during order review and payment. Your accounts payable team will thank you!

    We also forecast our stock around your ordering schedule to make sure you’re always covered when you need it.

     

    Branding

    On top of all that, we can also brand the items in your kit. We can help place your company logo on helmets, vests, harnesses, signs, and a lot more.

     

    Limitless Kitting Video


    Partnership and Kitting Podcast


    What kind of kits are already assembled?


    We have a wide range of tower climbing kits that are already assembled to include everything needed for a climber to work safely. The actual components of the kits vary depending on each kit and your preferences.

    We also have a range of other kits available. We offer rescue kits, wind energy kits, solar industry kits, PPE kits, tool kits, and even lifting & rigging kits.

     

    What do pre-assembled tower climbing kits come with?


    What the kits include depends on the kit you choose and if you want add-on or upgrade items. However, the tower climbing kits all come with the standard equipment needed for a climber to work safely. Pre-assembled tower climbing kits all include a harness, a lanyard, and carabiners. Many of our kits also come with bolt bags, gloves, spreader bars, safety glasses, helmets, and cable safety sleeves.

     

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  2. Equipment Financing for Antenna Aligners Featuring 3Z Telecom

    Antenna aligners can get pricey but they’re becoming a required piece of equipment for most tower crews. Luckily, our financing options help to ease the pain of dropping thousands of dollars on a single piece of specialized equipment. And the process is simple.

    Equipment Financing in Easy Steps


    After an application fee of $75, you'll sign a contract for a 12-month financing term. A personal guarantee is required to ensure the payments will be made. 

    Then, there are three simple steps:

      1. 20% Down Payment
        • This down payment will be considered the first month's payment. Let's say you’d like to finance the 3Z RF Vision Antenna Alignment Tool. It retails for around  $7,000. So, 20% of $7,000 would make your down payment $1,400. 
      2. 11 Monthly Payments 
        • For your monthly payments, we subtract the down payment ($1,400) from the total equipment costs ($7,000) and divide that number by 11.
        • So your monthly payment on the 3Z Alignment tool would equal $509.09. 
      3. $1 Buyout
        • At the end of your term, you'll buy out the equipment for one dollar.

    Estimate your monthly payments with this calculator*:


    *Actual payments may vary. Taxes not included in the estimate.

    There is a fee for late payments and equipment cannot be paid off before the twelve-month term. Click here to view the full application.

    If you’d rather set up a line of credit, we do have credit options that are tailored to the size and scope of your business. Click here to view credit options.

    Financing Video


    The Antenna Aligner


    Proper antenna alignment is vitally important when performing antenna maintenance. For years the only way to perform antenna alignment was to use a compass, GPS, and a range finder. This method was time-consuming and, most of the time, not as accurate as it needed to be. The 3Z RF Vision Antenna Alignment Tool changes that. In this week's blog post our Gear Experts® break down the aligner in a complete buying guide.

    The 3Z RF Vision Antenna Alignment Tool is an effective and reliable aligner that helps installers ensure that they are meeting the RF design specifications on each job site. This tool helps prevent coverage gaps, network performance gradation, and loss of revenue. This tool can not only align an antenna, but it can also show you where it is pointing with the built-in HD Camera.

    3Z also has a range of additional accessories you can get to use in conjunction with the 3Z Antenna Alignment Tool. These accessories include a strap clamp, torque wrench, data collector, antenna WASP sensor, and AIR32 mount bracket. Not sure what accessories you need? Don’t worry our Gear Experts® are here to help.

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  3. Signs and Banners with Columbia Creative Services

    Keeping employees, team members, and other people on the job site safe is at the top of mind for many people. One integral part of keeping people safe on the job site is ensuring that they are aware of the hazards they may encounter. OSHA requires signs to be posted on job sites which is a great first step. In this week's blog post our Gear Experts® are going to talk about our job site safety banners and motivational workplace banners.

    Job Site Safety Banners


    Our job site safety banners make it easy to quickly get your job site OSHA compliant. All of our banners come with grommets on each corner and in the middle so that you can easily hang them. These banners are available in two sizes – 4 x 2 or 6 x 3 foot. These banners feature all of the common job site signs – dangers, warnings, cautions, and notices, that are all required by OSHA.

    Customizations


    We’ve got two main types of job site safety banners – Tower Climbing Job Sites and Construction Job Sites. But we don't stop at banners. Columbia Creative Services, our marketing partner, offers a wide range of custom branding solutions.

    Tower Climbing Job Sites:

    The tower climbing job site banners have notices that are directed towards… you guessed it, tower climbing job sites. The notices are for fall protection, RF monitors, and overhead work.

    Construction Job Sites:

    The construction job site banner is directed towards general construction. It features notices for electrical hazards, speed limits, and PPE.

    Custom Banners:

    We know that not all job sites are created equal. That’s why we can work with you to customize your job site banner. We've partnered with Columbia Creative Services to customize the signs that are on the banner, provide a banner with clear pockets so that you can switch out signs when needed, and even add your logo to the banner so that people know which company is on the job site. For more information about customization please contact one of our Gear Experts® or click here.

    Motivational Workplace Banners

    Our Gear Experts® have put together a selection of motivational workplace banners. These banners are 4 x 2 feet and come with a variety of messages. They are made of the exact same ultraflex 15 oz PVC material as the job site banners. These banners can also be completely customized. For more information on custom motivational workplace banners click here or contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Columbia Creative Services


    Columbia Creative Services is a marketing agency based in Mid-Missouri that services safety and industrial companies. Our story is a big part of who we are. Because of that, their roots heavily influence our creativity and style. Unlike a traditional marketing agency, their story is a little different. In fact, they got their start by building the brands of two dominant companies in the industrial safety industry.

    Every business is different and that means their marketing strategy should also be different. Focusing on challenging the status quo allows us to use new approaches to help build your brand. This top-notch team is creative, determined, and has an uncanny knack for industrial safety. As Gear Experts, they have extensive knowledge of the safety industry and the gear used to make sure people go home safely to their families every night.

    All-Star Branding

    Columbia Creative Services recognizes the importance of branding. They know that how you present yourself to your customers is the biggest influencing factor in your business. As a result, they focus on breaking through the clutter with a clear and concise message that gets results with these services:

    • Publishing and Production
    • Graphic Design
    • Ad Management
    • Direct Mail
    • Copywriting
    • Web Design
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    • Email Marketing
    • Social Media Marketing
    • Photography
    • Videography

    Columbia Creative Services has a chest of tools ready to build your brand and share your voice with the world. Due to their history in the safety industry, they have consumer knowledge that gives you an advantage over the competition.

     

    Click here to see our full selection of job site safety signs and banners.
    Click here to see our full selection of motivational workplace banners.

    Learn More


    Get Social


    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has coming up in 2018. It will be exciting – we promise!

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  4. Product Spotlight: Arbor Ropes from Sterling Rope

    Sterling Rope Tree Care

     

    Working in the tree care industry, like most at-height industries, requires a set of special equipment to keep you safe and get the job done right. One key piece of equipment rope. The week our Gear Experts® are going to break down some Sterling ropes specifically designed for our arborist friends in the tree care industry.

    Atlas Rig Line

    When you’re removing large trunk sections of a tree you need to know that your rigging system can handle and absorb large dynamic forces. Sterling has been designing ropes to handle large kinetic forces for over 20 years and they designed their Atlas Rig Line specifically for this purpose.

    Features

    The Atlas Rig Line is ideal for removing tree trunk sections, is available in blue and white, and comes in 150, 200, or 600-foot lengths. It is a 9/16” rope with a polyester sheath and nylon core. And, it offers a soft hand, easy knotability, and is designed to be used in a rope friction device, capstan hoist, or pulley.

    Specifications

    The specifications of this rope just go to prove that it means business. With a minimum breaking strength of 11,050 pounds and an average breaking strength of 13,750 pounds – this rope can handle nearly any job. And, it meets ANSI Z133.1 requirements.

    Scion Climbing Line

    Next, we are going to cover the Scion Climbing Line from Sterling. This rope was developed with climbing in mind. It has a very durable construction and has been designed to absorb large dynamic forces.

    Features

    The Scion Climbing Line is ideal for both Doubled Rope Technique (DdRT) and Single Rope Technique (SRT). It is an 11.5 mm rope with a 24-strand polyester cover. The double braided construction provides decreased elongation, easy hand, and great knotability. The tight, durable sheath allows the rope to handle mechanical devices and hardware well and sewn termination ends are available in all length and color options.

    Specifications

    Speaking of length and color options - this rope is available in orange, blue, and green. And, it comes in 150, 200, and 600-foot lengths. For standards, it meets both EN 1891 type A and ANSI Z133 requirements so you know this rope is up to the challenge.

    Click here to see the Sterling Rope Atlas Rig Line

    Click here to see the Sterling Rope Scion Climbing Line

    Click here to see our full selection of Sterling Rope Products

    Click here to see our full selection of tree care products

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Sterling Rope Arbor Ropes: The Video


    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

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    We’re Also on Snapchat

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  5. Product Spotlight: TowerPlex Tower Paint

    Painting a tower isn’t like painting most other things. In fact, there is a lot of science (and regulation) that goes into developing a paint that is tough enough to handle the job while meeting federal requirements. We’ve covered the basics of tower paint in this previous blog post. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down TowerPlex Tower Paint.

    TowerPlex Formula


    TowerPlex Tower Paint is formulated to offer durable, long-lasting protection for galvanized towers and other metal surfaces. Our entire TowerPlex line is a pure 100% acrylic emulsion coating that has been thoroughly tested on galvanized and other metal surfaces. Additionally, it meets all federal standards for aviation safe colors. We talked about why you can’t just use any orange or white paint and meet aviation regulations in our Tower Paint 101 blog post which you can find by clicking here.

    How the Paint Works


    The reason why TowerPlex paint is so good for use on towers is because of the alkalinity of the paint itself. The alkaline in the paint allows it to etch itself into the zinc of the galvanized surface. This process allows the paint to form a chemical bond with the tower which subsequently allows the paint to dry quickly and maintain excellent weather resistance.

    Surface Prep


    Before you just grab some paintbrushes or a paint sprayer and start the job, it’s important to properly prep the surface for painting. Every section you are painting must be dry and clean. Make sure that you wipe off any dirt, grime, oil, and anything else that shouldn’t be on the surface. If possible, any spangle needs to be brush blasted or etched with hydrochloric acid until a weathered gray appearance is achieved.

    Primer, Application, and Coverage


    If you are painting an existing tower, be sure to spot prime any rust. If you plan on using TowerPlex paint, the best primer to use is the TowerPlex CC2925 Rust Inhibitive Bonding Primer.

    The paint can be applied from 50 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (10 – 43 degrees Celsius). But, be sure to avoid painting if an overnight freeze is expected or if rain is in the forecast as this can prevent the paint from drying correctly. If the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure that you apply a full wet coat and overlap 50% on each pass to help avoid dusting. Applying the paint can be done with a brush, mitt, or a sprayer. For the best results, TowerPlex recommends two coats over an entire prime base.

    If you think you might need to paint, but you’re not sure if you do or not, you can use the FAA In-Service Orange Color Range Chart to help you decide. Click here for a tutorial on how the FAA Service Chart works.

    Cold Galv Work


    If you need to do any cold galv work before you start painting, we’ve got you covered there, too. Click here to check out our blog post on cold galvanizing compound.

    Click here to see our full selection of TowerPlex products

    Click here to see our full selection of painting gear

    Click here to see our Tower Paint 101 blog post

    Click here to see our full selection of Cold Galv

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    TowerPlex: The Video


    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social


    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  6. Safety Training 101

    Safety LMS Online Training | Safety Training 101 | GME Supply

     

    It’s no secret that at-height work is dangerous and at GME Supply we pride ourselves in helping keep the dedicated men and women in at-height, industry, and construction safe and productive on the job. When talking about safety, a lot of people focus on the equipment. But the equipment is only half of the safety equation. After all, if you don’t know how to properly use the safety equipment you have it might not keep you safe. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down some key things to keep in mind when selecting training courses for your crew.

     

    Quality


    The quality of the courses you choose will directly affect your training experience, what information and/or techniques you learn, and your ability to continue to practice once the training is over. Here is a list of things to find out about the training company before you invest your hard-earned money in their courses.

    1. Where did the company’s curriculum come from? You want to make sure that their curriculum covers not only the things you need to legally know but also best practices and tip/tricks for self-training and continued education.
    2. How old is the company’s curriculum? Safety training companies aren’t always known for having up-to-date materials. But there are a few companies out there, like our friends at Safety LMS,  who have committed to updating curriculum a minimum of once a year. Safety LMS knows that things can change faster than most people think and that staying up-to-date is the best way to keep crews safe.
    3. Who is teaching the classes? Having an instructor who simply stands in front of you and reads right out of the book doesn’t exactly make for an enjoyable class. Beyond that, someone with no on-the-job experience in the class they are teaching can create a disconnect with students. Finding a training company where the instructors have experience in the industry and who can do more than reading from a book can not only make the class more exciting, but it can give additional insight into the industry and make Q&A sessions easier.

     

    Cost


    Cost is something that no one is immune to. Whether you are the biggest company in the country or a one crew team just trying to get off of the ground, spending money can often times be stressful. Cutting corners in training might save you some money in the short term, but improperly trained staff can lead to severe financial repercussions in the future. Finding a quality course for your employees not only keeps them safe but keeps the business safe too. If an accident happens due to lack of training not only do you lose out on the money from the time it takes to investigate the accident, but you have the potential to lose future jobs, get tied up in lawsuits, and go out of business completely.

     

    Credentials


    The credentials of not only the training company, but the instructors too, is an important part of the training process. Some questions to ask when vetting potential training companies include:

    • Who is responsible for creating the curriculum?
    • Who are the instructors?
    • What credentials do the instructors have?
    • What experience do they have?

    It’s also always good to check with your colleagues and peer groups to see if any of them have attended a training session and what their experience was. Proper training saves lives and ensuring that the instructor is qualified can make all the difference.

    If you’ve got questions about training sessions, or anything training related, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of online and in-person training courses.

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

     

    Safety LMS Online Courses: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

     

    Get Social


    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

     

    We’re Also on Snapchat


    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  7. 3M Fall Protection for Tools Sample Tool Tether Pack

    3M Fall Protection for Tools Sample Pack

    The ISEA/ANSI 121 Dropped Objects Prevention Standard outlines the safety standards and requirements for testing at-height tool tethering equipment in order to increase safety. This doesn't mean that there will be a requirement for tethering. However, in the future, it may be standardized across different industries.

    3M has developed a wide range of excellent tools for drop prevention and we helped select a wide variety to showcase in the 3M Fall Protection for Tools Sample Pack. Buy a Tower Climbing Kit and receive the 3M Fall Protection Sample Pack for FREE for a limited time. The sample kit includes 9 pieces of awesome gear from 3M.

    This kit includes:

    Watch our video outlining the kit and scroll further for descriptions of different drop prevention issues and solutions.

    The Full Video:


    Check out 3M Fall Protection for Tools Sample Pack here ↓

     

    Tool Tethers


    Tool tethers have been around for quite a few years. However, traditionally they were referred to as tool lanyards. The industry has adopted the name tool tethers to prevent confusion between tool drop prevention equipment and shock absorbing lanyards. Tool tethers, like most equipment in the at-height industry, come in a range of shapes and sizes.

    How They Work


    Dropped objects are still a huge cause of injury and death in the United States. Tool tethers are designed to help prevent those casualties and also prevent lost productivity and damaged equipment.

    Tool tethers have a range of connections points and a variety of different weight capacities ranging from 1 to 15 pounds. The weight capacity is based on the weight of the tool.

    If you need a tool tether with a larger capacity click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Connecting the tool tether to the tool itself can be done in a few different ways. If the tool has a tether connection built-in, then you are good to go. Simply attach the connection point of the tether to the tool and you’re in business. If you find yourself in a situation where the tool does not have a tether point, there are solutions available. Some options include:

    Self-Adhering Tape – This is a tape that has been designed to adhere to a connection point to your tool.

    Tool Collars – These are components that help retrofit a range of tools with a connection point without hindering the ability to use the handle of the tool.

    Tool tethers come in a range of lengths that not only provide easier use when working but also provide added force reduction in the event of a drop. Another option, if you need to be able to adjust the length, is to use a retractable tether. Think of retractable tethers as mini SRLs for your tools. It functions in much the same way.

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Looking for more information about tool tethers? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of Tool Tethers
    Click here to see our full selection of Tools

    Gear Up with Gear Experts Podcast Episode 9 - Tool Tethering

    → Click Here to listen to our Gear Experts discuss tool tethering:

    The Full Video:


    Check out 3M Fall Protection for Tools Sample Pack here ↓

     

    Get Social


    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

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    We’re Also on Snapchat


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  8. Product Spotlight: Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard

    Petzl Grillon

    Positioning yourself where you need to be will make the job a little bit easier when working at height. Beyond that, having the ability to adjust your positioning on the fly – while still maintaining 100% tie-off increases productivity while still maintaining safety standards. Adjustable positioning can be done with the use of specialty equipment and this week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard.

    The Petzl GRILLON PLUS


     

    The GRILLON PLUS is similar to the traditional GRILLON. One of the major differences that you might notice is that the PLUS doesn’t have an abrasion sleeve. That’s because, instead of having a standard kernmantle rope construction, it’s made out of heavy-duty aramid fiber kernmantle rope. Aramid fiber rope provides superior resistance to abrasion when compared to nearly any rope which removes the need for the abrasion sleeve.

    Features


     

    Rope

    Not only is the rope stronger, thanks to the aramid fiber construction, but it also features sewn terminations at both ends. The ends are then covered in a plastic sheath to help keep the connector in position while simultaneously protecting the ends of the rope from abrasion.

    Adjustability

    The adjustability of the GRILLON PLUS is all thanks to the aluminum device that comes attached to the rope. This device is well known for its smoothness when allowing a rope to pass through it.

    Versatility


     

    The GRILLON PLUS is a versatile piece of equipment. It comes in two different lengths – 2 and 3-meter versions. And, if the rope ever needs to be replaced due to damage or any other reason, you can easily swap it out with a GRILLON PLUS Replacement Lanyard. Lastly, it can also be used in two different configurations (or, as we call them, modes). Those modes are double and single mode.

    Single Mode

    Single Mode is used when an anchor is directly above you. This mode will comfortably distribute the load between the belt and the leg loops. Your position can be adjusted by operating the handle while holding the free end of the lanyard.

    Double Mode

    When using the device in double mode, the lanyard is fed through the anchor or structure and the end is secured to one of your hip D-rings while the device is attached to your other D-ring. The double mode technique does a better job at distributing the load to the belt while allowing you to pivot and swing to achieve your desired position.

    Certifications


     

    This lanyard is fancy – no doubt about it. Between the top-of-the-line features and versatility, it’s a device that can come in handy for anyone who needs the ability to position while working at-height. But, perhaps the most important feature is the standards this device meets. It meets ANSI Z359.3, CSA Z259.11, CE EN 385, and CE EN 12841 Type C.

    If you’ve got any questions about the Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard, or anything else related to at-height, industry, and construction, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see the Petzl GRILLON PLUS

    Click here to see our full selection of Petzl gear

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  9. Confined Space 101

    It’s no secret that working at-height, industry, and construction is dangerous. But confined spaces bring a whole slew of additional dangers. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down confined space and talk about some of the important things to keep in mind/remember when working in confined space.

    What is a Confined Space


     

    A confined space is an area that has an opening large enough for a worker to access and enter to perform work. The area has a limited or restricted means of entry or exit and is not designed for continuous human occupancy. Because of the restricted means of entry and exit confined spaces are considered one of the most dangerous job sites. Some examples of confined spaces include underground vaults, sewers, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, and silos.

    Confined Space Work


     

    It is important to know if your job site, plant, or shop requires confined space entry. If it does, you will need to ensure that you are following the appropriate safety precautions. Safety precautions include equipment that has been designed specifically for confined space applications (like a confined space kit). It’s also important to understand and be prepared for hazards that are common to confined space work.

    Hazards common to confined space work include unsafe air, toxic contaminants, electrical hazards, mechanical hazards like augers, and leading-edge fall hazards. While these are some of the common hazards, each confined space is unique and may feature some, all, or additional hazards that we haven’t listed in this post. Confined spaces should, under no circumstances, be entered unless you are trained and authorized and proper safety precautions have been taken.

    Safety First


     

    When it comes to confined space, the safety first mindset is extremely important. Untrained and unauthorized employees should never enter a confined space and a competent person should determine if the confined space is safe for entry before employees enter. Stay alert of changing conditions, know how to contact emergency services, and always have an emergency rescue plan in place.

    A safety first focus for confined space doesn’t have to be limited to inside the space itself. It’s also important to make sure to lockout and tag any mechanical equipment that could activate or energize while the confined space is occupied. You should also have the appropriate barriers and signs outside of the confined space to alert and prevent other people from entering or falling into the confined space.

    Equipment


     

    As we mentioned above, confined spaces vary in size, shape, location, and environment. That means that there isn’t a standard or typical application, so your confined space safety equipment must be flexible as well. Consistent anchorage is rarely found from one job to the next. Some confined spaces like a manhole on a street will require vertical equipment, but others like a tank would have a side-entry or horizontal requirement.

    Choosing the right confined space entry and rescue equipment can be difficult. Temporary jobs require lightweight and easy-to-use portable confined space systems. For areas that are accessed frequently a davit system with a permanently mounted base would be more ideal.

    Lifeline type and length are other variables to consider. In some situations, a back-up system may be required. Typical mechanical devices include man-rated winches and 3-way retracting lifelines with both fall protection and emergency rescue functions.

    If you’ve got questions about confined space solutions, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Click here to see our selection of confined space solutions

    Gas Detection 101: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® is available via your podcast listening platform of choice and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show and sign up for alerts, head on over to gearexperts.com.

    Get Social


     

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    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

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  10. RF 101

    When it comes to working in the telecom industry, it’s no secret that there are a wide variety of different dangers. Most dangers can be seen – whether it has to do with falling, having things fall on you, etc. But not all dangers are visible with the human eye – or even any human sense. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the hidden danger of RF.

    More Than Meets the Eye


     

    RF, or radio frequency, is any electromagnetic wave frequency. In the telecom industry, this is the energy that is emitted from radios or telecommunications equipment. Electromagnetic wave frequencies can’t always be seen or heard, but they are absorbed by your body and, if overexposed, can cause serious harm.

    The Dangers of RF


     

    So, now that we know what RF is and that just because we can’t see, hear, or otherwise sense, it doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. Let’s cover some of the effects of RF exposure. The primary effect is heating – think of it like a microwave oven which uses electromagnetic waves to heat food from the inside out. Keep in mind, that while a microwave does use electromagnetic waves to cook food, it is a very large amount of power being concentrated into a tiny steel box. Most telecom related RF situations will not be nearly as drastic as a microwave oven. However, the basic concept is the same. When the electromagnetic waves are absorbed by your body they heat it up from the inside out and you begin to experience RF sickness.

    Symptoms of RF Sickness


     

    RF Sickness won’t be noticed by most people right away. In fact, some people may never even realize they have it, which can cause added risk. The reason people don’t always know they have RF sickness is because the primary symptom is heat. It can be difficult to determine whether you may have RF sickness, or you simply haven’t been drinking enough water and might be dehydrated. With that being said, the symptoms of RF Sickness are most commonly compared to having a fever – making it even more difficult to detect.

    Effects of RF Sickness


     

    RF heats your body from the inside out. That means that as you are exposed to it, it is raising your core temperature. It’s not the same as standing next to a heater where you would feel the heat on your skin rather the heat would begin radiating outward from your core.

    As your core begins to heat and your body begins to lose the ability to prevent your temperature from rising you can start to experience heat stress. The symptoms of heat stress include rash, cramps, dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, heavy sweating, weakness, seizures, and unconsciousness. We’ve covered heat stress in its entirety on a previous blog post which you can find by clicking here. 

    While all symptoms of heat stress are serious and should be treated immediately, we want to focus on confusion for just a second. Confusion also referred to as irrational behavior, can lead to costly mistakes and potentially fatal accidents. In fact, it is difficult to know if some tower fatalities were caused because of human error, or if confusion caused by RF sickness was to blame.

    RF Exposure


     

    The actual full breakdown of how the human body reacts to RF exposure can get pretty technical and is beyond the scope of a blog post. But, boiled down to its most basic explanation, our bodies are more receptive to lower frequencies. And, because of the way our bodies react to RF frequencies the way that safe exposure limits are expressed is more of a bell curve rather than a straight line. Beyond that, RF exposure tracking uses a 6-minute averaging rule.

    6-Minute Averaging Rule


     

    What the 6-Minute Averaging Rule means is that over the course of 6 minutes your average exposure level cannot exceed that of 100% of the FCC limits. Essentially, what this means is that you could have a brief period where you are at 150% of the FCC limits, but then for the next few minutes you are only at 25%. This is acceptable because the average exposure level over the course of 6 minutes is below 100%.

    FCC RF Limits


     

    As we mentioned above, the FCC has outlined limits for RF exposure that are calculated using the 6-minute averaging rule (0.1-hour periods). The FCC RF limits are applied to “normal environmental conditions and for incident electromagnetic energy of frequencies from 10 MHz to 100 GHz, the radiation protection guide is 10 mW/cm.(2) (milliwatt per square centimeter) as averaged over any possible 0.1-hour period.” Below is a breakdown of what this means.

    • Power density: 10 mW/cm2 for periods of 6 minutes or more
    • Energy density: 1 mW.-hr/cm2 (milliwatt hour per square centimeter during any 6-minute period.

    It is important to note that this guide applies whether the exposure is continuous or intermittent within the 6-minute averaging period.

    Limiting RF Exposure


     

    When it comes to limiting RF exposure there are two main components. The first component is proper training while the second component is a safety monitor.

    Proper Training

    Just like everything in the tower industry, training is an important part of ensuring safety. We have partnered with industry-leading training companies like Safety LMS to offer an online Fundamentals of RF/EME Radiation course. This course was designed to help ensure that employees can recognize the hazards of RF that exist on tower sites – whether that is a tower or a rooftop.

    RF Monitors

    An RF monitor complements training. After all, being trained to understand and handle a hazard is great, but when you cannot detect the hazard with your senses, it’s kind of hard to make sure you’re not exceeding safe exposure limits. One reason why an RF monitor is so important is that it is a shaped probe/shaped response device. What that means is that it has the ability to account for all RF frequencies in the surrounding area (like a rooftop with multiple different types of antennas) and calculate the amount of exposure from each. It then combines those numbers and bounces that against the safe working limits.

    With personal RF monitors like the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor you can rest assured that you will be able to accurately detect RF. We covered the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor in a previous blog post which you can read by clicking here.

    We recently featured Max Birch, the lead engineer for FieldSENSE, as our guest on our podcast: Gear Up with Gear Experts. Max dropped some knowledge bombs about RF and helped break down some of the complicated parts of RF awareness and safety. You can find that podcast episode by clicking here. 

    If you have any questions about RF safety or RF Monitors, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our blog post about the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor

    Click here to view the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor

    Click here to listen to our RF Safety podcast episode

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    FieldSENSE: Guide to Recalibration


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

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