March 2014

  1. Primed for Tower Painting

    Cell Tower Paint - GME Supply

    The government and all their regulations, right? Federal law says that all towers must be properly illuminated and/or painted; if they are difficult to see, they may become a danger to air traffic. Which would be… bad.


    Obviously, remove any existing rust, old cracked paint, or general gunk that might have built up on the tower. A good wire brush is helpful here. Next up is primer. TowerPlex Acrylic Bonding Primer is the best solution to prevent corrosion and guarantee that the next step, the paint, has a fighting chance.


    The paints have to be specific colors, which are chosen by the government.  Tower paint must be the Federal Standard 595 color #17875 for white and #12197 for aviation orange. These colors provide excellent contrast which can be seen from a very long way away. Plus, they make the tower stand out. Nuclear fission white and neon orange aren’t exactly colors that are too common in nature.


    If your tower isn’t the right color… look out. Heavy fines could be coming your way. GME Supply’s handy color chart gives you an easy way to check compliance. It’s simple to use, just compare the chart to the tower with the windowed scale. The colors represent the minimum and maximum color saturation, as well as the limits for lightness, darkness, redness and yellowness.



    TowerPlex Tower Paint - GME Supply


    Alright… so you’ve used the color chart to determine you need to paint. After you get the tower paint, how are you planning to apply it? Painter’s mitts are a great solution. They’re lined so your hand doesn’t become a federal standard color. Plus the synthetic fabric is very durable. You could also use a good old paintbrush, but it’s not the most popular way.


    How much paint do you need? That’s tough to say. Every tower is different, and depending on the weather conditions, the paint may go on easier. We can confidently say that the suggested coverage is 296 ft2 per gallon at 2 mil dry, assuming you didn’t let ANY paint drip… We’re not that neat of painters.


    Check out the product page for more information on coverage and application. You can always hang on to extra paint, but applying the paint too thin to make it go farther isn’t a great idea. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

  2. ANSI Z87 Safety Glasses

    According to Prevent Blindness America, there were well over 200,000 people treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for workplace related eye injuries in a single year. More than 20,000 of those required time off of work. If your workers aren't on the job, you’re losing money! The majority of these injuries may be preventable with proper eye protection.

     Bouton Z87+ Safety Glasses - GME Supply

    OSHA follows the Z87 standards set by ANSI. If you're wearing approved glasses, they'll be stamped with a permanent marking, like the one above. The marking should be stamped somewhere on the glasses; usually on the front of the frame, or somewhere on the inside or outside of the temple or even on the lenses themselves. But what does Z87 actually mean?


    For a Z87 rating, the glasses have to go through extensive testing. For the basic impact rating, a drop ball test is performed and the lens must not break, crack, or chip. If the glasses are to meet the Z87+ rating, they LITERALLY FIRE OBJECTS AT THE GLASSES! Awesome. This test is done with the lenses in the frames, and no part of the glasses can fail.


    Now… safety glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And really, most of our popular sytles don't even look like safety glasses. If you head over to our safety glasses section, you’ll notice that the majority of them actually look like plain sunglasses. You can also get many styles in a variety of lens tints. If you do work in mixed light, indoor/outdoor glasses might be for you. Mirrored lenses can help reduce eye fatigue if you’re working out in the sun all day.


    Want to see what the shades look like on a person? Check out our videos of Mark doing a quick-change routine in mirrored, smoked, colored, and clear safety glasses:


  3. Lifting and Rigging with AB Chance Capstans

    Capstan winches have been around for centuries. Originally they were used on ships to raise and lower spars for sailing, or to lift cargo onto the ship. The large, manpowered machines were nothing like the small electric winches used to raise equipment up a tower these days.


    AB Chance Capstan Hoist 

    Using a capstan to get gear up a tower is safe and easy, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.


    1 – Don’t overload the hoist!

    Before you start working, make sure you understand everything involved in the job. Since you can’t feel the weight that the hoist is lifting, it may seem effortless. You must always know the weight of the object or what the force required to pull the cable is before starting work.


    2 – Position yourself and the load correctly

    The operator should always have a good view of both the hoist and the load. If that’s not possible because of obstructions between the two, work out a system with a spotter by using either hand signals or two-way radios.


    3 – Inspect. Everything.

    Never use a malfunctioning or damaged hoist. This should be obvious! This would be a good time to verify that the equipment being used is rated for the loads involved... Again. But it’s not just the hoist. You should inspect the rope, bracket, blocks, slings, etc.

    Speaking of rope… it should be rated for the load involved, have good frictional characteristics and a high melting point. The drum can create a lot of heat on the rope so make sure the rope manufacturer has approved the rope for the task at hand.


    Now… This isn’t a comprehensive list of the steps required to run a capstan. They’re just a few pointers that should get you thinking about safety when lifting and rigging. For a more complete resource, check out Hubbell Power System’s Eight Safety Recommendations for Capstan Hoists.


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