May 2019

  1. Rope Protection 101

    Rope is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in at-height work. Whether you are using it as a lifeline or for lifting and rigging, knowing and caring for your rope can often be the difference between life and death. We’ve discussed rope inspection and the importance of caring for your rope by washing it in previous blog posts. This week, our Gear Experts® are going to break down rope protection.

    Rope Protection: Overview


     

    Rope protection is, wait for it…, the act of protecting your rope from being damaged by things like sharp edges. It is done with the use of a piece of equipment that has been specifically designed to protect rope against edges. The most common situation that creates a need for rope protection is the inability to properly anchor your rope directly overhead. In many rescue and rope access situations your rope may have to come into contact with an edge that isn’t exactly designed to be safe for rope. Whether it’s a building, beam, or rock face, that type of contact can cause unnecessary abrasion and ultimately decrease the life of your rope.

    How to Protect Your Rope


     

    There are two major types of rope protection: rope guards and mechanical rope protectors.

    Mechanical Rope Protectors

    Petzl P68 Caterpillar Rope Protector

    Mechanical rope protectors, like the Petzl P68 Caterpillar or DBI Sala 8700302 Rope Protector, are usually made from metal links with rollers in the center. The metal links are connected by smaller links that allow for flexibility over edges. The rope can move up and down on the rollers as needed providing a smooth process and preventing any damage caused by the edges. Mechanical rope protectors are more expensive than rope guards because of their metal construction.

    Rope Guard

    Sterling SafeGuard Rope ProtectorRope guards, like the Sterling SafeGuard or the PMI Supermantle Rope Protector, are much more economically friendly and lighter than their mechanical counterparts. While each rope guard is constructed a little bit differently, the basic functionality is the same. They work by covering the rope (usually with some form of canvas) and allowing the rope to slide through the guard when it needs to move up or down an edge.

    For more information on rope protection solutions, or any questions about rope, rope inspection, or proper rope care, 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 check out our rope focused blog posts.

    Click here to see our full selection of rope protection solutions.

    Rope Protection: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    Gear Up with Gear ExpertsIf 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!

  2. Heat Stress 101

    It seems like just yesterday we were experiencing a polar vortex through the middle of the US and begging for warmer weather. Well, that warmer weather is finally here. Working in the cold has risks – we broke those down in our Cold Stress 101 blog post and working in the heat has its own set of risks. This week our Gear Experts® are going to talk about heat stress, symptoms, and ways to prevent it.

    Heat Stress


     

    Like we mentioned above, the heat of the summer can not only be uncomfortable, but it can have a huge impact on the job site in the form of heat stress and UV overexposure. Heat stress not only decreases employee performance, costing employer’s money and productivity, but it can be a very serious health risk. In fact, heat stress hospitalizes nearly 3,000 workers every year. Heat stress can take many forms like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

    Heat Stress Symptoms, Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke


     

    Heat Stress Symptoms

    Some symptoms of heat stress include:

    • Rash;
    • Cramps;
    • Dizziness;
    • Headache;
    • Nausea;
    • Confusion;
    • Heavy Sweating;
    • Weakness
    • Seizures; and
    • Unconsciousness

    Heat Exhaustion

    Heat exhaustion is when the body is losing fluid faster than it’s being rehydrated. Headaches, physical weakness, heavy sweating, and nausea are all signs of heat exhaustion. If you experience these symptoms find a cool place to rest, stay out of direct sunlight, and try to rehydrate your body with fluids. If symptoms do not improve in a reasonable amount of time, seek medical attention.

    Heat Stroke

    Heat stroke is when your body can no longer regulate your temperature properly. Convulsions, loss of consciousness, lack of sweating, or difficulty breathing are all signs of heat stroke. If you experience these symptoms you need to seek medical attention immediately because they are potentially fatal.

    Hydration is Key


     

    Obviously, the best way to avoid heat stress is to avoid being outside in the heat. However, we know that isn’t a realistic tip because the world doesn’t stop moving on hot days. So, the next best way to avoid heat stress is proper hydration. Strenuous work and high-temperature environments can result in a worker losing multiple liters of water in a single hour.

    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommendations, workers should be drinking between 24 and 32 ounces of water every hour. This amount could increase as temperatures rise.

    Clothing Plays a Role


     

    Clothing also plays a huge role when it comes to heat management. After all, wearing a winter coat in 100-degree weather isn’t exactly a good idea. Not only does clothing protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun (UV exposure), but it also allows the body to make the most of its natural regulatory processes (sweating).

    Summer Workwear

    Lightweight and loose-fitting clothing will maximize the effectiveness of sweating. Light colored clothes will help reduce the amount of heat your clothing absorbs and, as mentioned above, will help protect your skin from UV rays. Full brim hard hats help keep that hot sun from direct contact with your skin as well.

    Hard hats / Helmets

    Unfortunately, when it comes to hard hats and helmets that are required on the job site, the options you have are often limited. A hard hat or helmet that is exposed to direct sunlight can be like having a little oven on top of your head. On top of that, full brim hard hats don’t exactly offer a ton of coverage for sun protection.

    Hard hat Neck Shades


     

    With hard hats being required, but not having a whole lot of protection, hard hat neck shades have stepped in to bridge that gap. Hard hat neck shades easily connect to the suspension of any hard hat or helmet and can make a serious difference when working in the summer heat.

    Chill-Its

    The Chill-Its line from Ergodyne have been designed to help prevent heat stress and add additional comfort when working in the heat. For example, the 6717 Hard Hat Pad with Neck Shade helps protect the back of the neck from UV exposure while adding a little extra padding for comfort. If you’re looking for more advanced protection, the 6670CT Neck Shade has a built-in cooling towel. The towel is made of a PVA material that when contacted with water or sweat activates a super evaporative cooling process.

    Heat stress is no joke and prevention should be taken seriously. If you need more information on heat stress, how to prevent heat-related illnesses, or any of our cooling products, 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 neck shades

    Click here to see our selection of cooling gear

    Heat Stress 101: 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!

  3. The Multiwave SmartAligner: Future-Proof Design

    It’s no secret that aligning antennas requires precise measurements that can be relied on time and time again. We’ve covered various antenna alignment equipment in previous blog posts that you can find here. But, what if there was an antenna aligner that was future-proof? Meaning it didn’t get outdated because of advances in technology and that if it needed a major update you wouldn’t have to send it anywhere or replace it. That’s a bold statement in a world where technology is advancing at incredible speeds. This week, our Gear Experts® are going to break down the future-proof design of the Multiwave SmartAligner.

    There’s an App for That


     

    We’ve covered the features and benefits of the Multiwave SmartAligner in previous blog posts that can be found here. But, we haven’t really addressed their revolutionary app that is available for both Android and iPhone. The app has been around for over 5 years and is constantly being updated with new features. In fact, it’s had nearly a dozen application updates since it was released.

    The Multiwave SmartAligner App


     

    So, there’s an app, but what does that actually do to help when on the job? Well, the app has a ton of features that help with training, measurements, and reporting.

    Training

    Antenna Aligners aren’t cheap and the last thing you want to do is send someone 200+ feet up a tower with no real experience in how to operate the tool. Not only does it waste time and money, but the chances of something going wrong and the device being damaged are increased. That’s where the simulation mode comes in.  Simulation mode allows you to train staff on how to use the device from the ground on a smartphone. And, you can use simulation mode without even owning a device – meaning you can already know how it operates before you buy it.

    Measurements

    With the ability to pre-program measurements from the app, you can ensure that you have the information you need when you’re working on the antenna. For added control, you can also set parameters for employees that lock their allowed margin of error. This feature can save valuable time and prevent costly mistakes.

    Reporting

    With a full suite of reporting features, the SmartAligner App can help speed up job completion time. Take pictures and jot down notes all within the app and easily attach them to your report.

    We have a full training series that covers the setup and operation of the mobile app. You can find that series by clicking here.

    Future-Proof

    How does this app make the device future-proof? Well, it’s all in the updates. Most antenna aligners on the market don’t have the ability to be updated from an app. Instead, you have to send the device in for costly software and hardware updates. Or, potentially just purchase a whole new unit. Multiwave built a device designed to stand the test of time and updates are as simple as opening the app.

    The Tool


     

    We’ve talked a lot about the app, but what about the aligner itself? Well, it’s a pretty impressive piece of equipment – and boasts several features that separate it from the competition. The patented bracket allows the Aligner to be mounted securely and directly to most antennas without the need for costly accessories. The bracket is engineered to enable 18 different mounting configurations which help the tool automatically provide the Azimuth, Tilt, and Roll without having to do any math.

    The SmartAligner includes an easy to read backlit LCD screen that provides the information you need to do a proper alignment. A 3-point design provides more accurate alignment than any other product in its category. It does this by capitalizing on the best-in-class sensor spacing without increasing the size and space requirements of the tool. Last, but not least, the Aligner comes with a heavy-duty waterproof case so you can make sure to safely and securely transport your Aligner wherever the job may take you.

    For more information about the Antenna Aligner click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to check out the Multiwave SmartAligner

    Click here to check out our full selection of SmartAligner accessories

    Click here to check out our past Multiwave blog posts

    Click here to see our video series on the Multiwave SmartAligner App

    **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.

    Future-Proof Antenna Alignment: 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!

  4. The Hierarchy of Fall Protection 101

    We talk about safety a lot and that’s because safety is what we do. Staying safe while on the job not only ensures that you can go home to your family and friends every night, but that you can stay productive. It's OSHA Stand-Down Week 2019 and this week our Gear Experts® are going to give a broad overview of OSHA Stand-Down and break down the Hierarchy of Fall Protection.

    OSHA Stand-Down Week


     

    Every year OSHA has a Stand-Down Week that is observed in the interest of preventing falls in any at-height industry where falling is a hazard while on the job. OSHA encourages employers to have a “Safety Stand-Down” where employers talk directly to employees about safety. Employers should take this break to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall prevention. OSHA and NIOSH have provided a ton of resources that employers can utilize when participating in OSHA Stand-Down Week. You can find those resources by clicking here.

    How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down


     

    Conducting a Safety Stand-Down can be done in many ways and can tie into safety discussions that companies are already having. Some Stand-Down ideas include a toolbox talk, equipment inspections, rescue plan development, and job hazard overviews. If you’re not sure what to talk about, our blog, YouTube channel, and knowledge base are full of valuable resources to spark discussions.

    The Hierarchy of Fall Protection


     

    The main goal of OSHA Stand-Down Week is fall prevention, so we wanted to take this opportunity to discuss the hierarchy of fall protection. The hierarchy of fall protection is a method of categorizing fall protection into 5 stages. The stages go from “No Risk” (Stage 1) to “High Risk” (Stage 5). Those stages are:

    1. Hazard Elimination;
    2. Fall Prevention;
    3. Fall Restraint;
    4. Fall Arrest; and
    5. Safety Monitor.

    The Break Down


     

    So, now that we’ve covered the stages of fall protection, let’s dive a bit deeper into each stage and what they actually mean.

    Hazard Elimination (Stage 1)

    Hazard elimination is the act of completely removing a hazard via construction or maintenance. Basically, it means that the risk of falling has been completely prevented. For example, fixing a hole in the outer wall of a building is hazard elimination. Once the hole has been fixed, no one can fall out of the building.

    Fall Prevention (Stage 2)

    Fall prevention is the use of equipment that has the purpose of completely preventing access to a fall hazard. While the fall hazard has not been “removed” by means of construction or maintenance (stage 1), it has been blocked with equipment that has been designed for that purpose. Guardrails are an example of fall prevention.

    Fall Restraint (Stage 3)

    Fall restraint is a system that prevents a person working at-height from falling. This is done by using specialty equipment, like a lanyard, to connect a worker to an anchor that prevents the worker from reaching an area where the risk of a fall exists.

    Fall Arrest (Stage 4)

    Fall arrest is a form of fall protection in which a piece of specialty equipment stops the descent of a person who is falling. An example of this would be a self-retracting lifeline.

    Safety Monitor (Stage 5)

    Safety monitor is the highest risk stage in the Hierarchy of Fall Protection. This method is used in situations where it is proven that all other types of fall protection are not possible or would increase the potential danger. A competent and trained person is assigned to monitor the work of others in this situation.

    Clearly, stage 5 of the Hierarchy of Fall Protection is the most dangerous and least preferred method. If you have any questions about the Hierarchy of Fall Protection or the equipment required at the different stages, 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.

    The ABCs of Fall Protection


    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!

  5. Rope 201

    When it comes to working in at-height, industry, and construction, one of your most important assets is your rope. The more you know about rope, how to use it, care for it, and what options you have, the safer you can be while on the job. This week our Gear Experts® are going to dive deeper into rope and talk about knots, termination options, and rope retirement.

    We Kid You Knot


     

    Knots go almost hand in hand with rope. And while tying knots is an important skill to have when working with rope, it’s equally important to understand and recognize the effects that knots have on rope. Knots can severely decrease the overall strength of the rope – which can be extremely dangerous. The decrease in rope strength isn’t only while the knot is tied but can be a lasting effect that continues after the knot is untied. This reduction in strength is due to crimping and twisting that is often irreversible.

    Serious, or Knot


     

    So, while we’ve established that knots decrease overall strength, we haven’t talked about how much of a decrease you will see. Knots can decrease rope strength by up to 50% - a number that can be catastrophic in a life safety or overhead scenario. It’s important to note that the decrease in strength can vary depending on the rope composition and manufacturer instructions should be followed.

    Recent studies have shown that a figure 8 knot (a knot commonly used to create a looped termination at the end of a rope) causes rope to break at 75-80% of their typical strength. This decrease in MBS (minimum breaking strength) could be enough to put the capacity of the rope below required safety factors.

    While the decrease in strength and other effects on rope can be serious, knots are commonly tied in ropes to create an attachment point to secure the rope to a structure or object. There are other options available for attaching rope to a structure or object that don’t decrease the strength of a rope by anywhere near the amount that a knot does.

    Termination Options


     

    Like we mentioned above, there are plenty of options for securing rope to objects or structures without using a knot. Those options are termination plates, factory sewn or spliced eyes, and factory installed connectors.

    Termination Plates

    A termination plate is a piece of hardware, typically made from milled aluminum, which has multiple holes. Rope is fed through these holes in a specific pattern, leaving the main hole at the end of the plate as an attachment point.

    Factory Sewn or Spliced Eyes

    Many rope manufacturers offer sewn eyes for kernmantle and double braid ropes, or hand spliced terminations for 3-strand ropes. These terminations are designed to drastically reduce the stress put on the rope to minimize strength loss. They also typically include a protective thimble or abrasion resistant sleeve to further protect the rope at the stress points.

    Factory Installed Connectors

    Rope manufacturers can also include hardware connection options. For example, snaphooks with swivels are included on many lifelines to make attachment easier.

    Retire Your Rope


     

    While terminations help maintain strength and add longevity to rope, it’s still important to regularly inspect your rope and retire it if the rope is not fit for continued use. For more information about how to inspect a rope and when it is time to retire the rope, check out our Rope Inspection 101 blog post.

    Free Poster


     

    We’ve also turned this blog post into a free downloadable poster available in our Knowledge Base. The poster includes all of the information and pictures included in this blog post.

    Click here to see our selection of rope

    Click here to see our selection of termination plates

    Click here to see our selection of rope accessories

    Click here to check out our rope related blog posts

    **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.

    Rope: The Playlist


     

    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!

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