July 2019

  1. 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


     

    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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  2. 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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    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

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

  3. Cadweld Demonstration


    Creating quality and reliable cable ground is an important part of the construction process. Using welding kits, like the Cadweld Plus Electronic Exothermic Welding Deluxe Kit can help ensure a proper, high-quality weld and keep you and your crew safe and productive on the job. This week our Gear Experts®  are going to break down how to use the Parallel Splice Mold and K-Cups from the Cadweld Plus Electronic Exothermic Welding Deluxe Kit to ground cable. For more information on the regular & plus kits, click here to check out a previous blog post.

    Cadweld Connections


     

    A Cadweld connection has a carrying capacity equal to or greater than that of the conductor and will withstand repeated fault currents without failing during operation. Cadweld connections also consistently exceeded IEEE® 837 2014 EMF test requirements and have been certified by an independent lab.

    Prep


     

    Prep is equally as important because it can prevent accidents from happening. To prep for the weld, be sure to thoroughly clean the mold and copper wires using an approved Cadweld Mold Cleaning BrushAdditional cleaning of the copper wire with a wire brush may be required to remove any grit or corrosion. Next, preheat the wire and the mold using a heat torch. This will get rid of any excess moisture that could negatively affect the weld quality. 

    Setup


     

    Once you have completed the preparation steps, it’s time to put everything in place to activate the weld. 

    Step 1: Start by placing both wires parallel in the mold and use the mold handle to clamp it shut. You should feel a click when the clamp is completely closed. 

    Step 2: Next, take some Cadwld Mold Sealer and fill the bottom opening of the mold so the weld material doesn’t escape when the chemical reaction starts. 

    Step 3: It’s important to remember that you want to make sure your mold is level so the welding material flows into the correct channels once it has been ignited. 

    Step 4: Then, place the K cup of welding material in the top of the mold with the ignition tab exposed. 

    Step 5: Attach the electronic igniter to that tab and close the top of the mold.

    Step 6: Step away from the mold and hold the operator button on the ignitor control unit until the ready light turns off. At this point, the reaction will occur.

    Step 7: After the reaction, allow 30 seconds for the mold to cool before removing it from the wires. 

    Now you have a permanent splice between the two copper wires. Below is a demonstration video where we go through these exact steps to create a weld. You can also check out that video by clicking here or going to our YouTube channel.

    Click hereGot questions about welding with Cadweld gear? to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of Cadweld equipment

    **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.

    Cadweld Demonstration: The Video


    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts | A podcast for at-height workers, industry, and construction.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 Cordage Institute: Fiber Rope Inspection & Retirement Criteria

     

    The Cordage Institute

    When it comes to working at-height, inspecting your equipment can make all the difference in job site safety. We’ve covered rope inspection in a previous blog post. You can find that post by clicking here. This week our Gear Experts® are going to provide a broad overview of the organization that sets standards for inspection.

    The Cordage Institute


     

    Fiber rope standards are established by an organization called the Cordage Institute. The Cordage Institute was founded in 1920 and is comprised of a group of fiber rope manufacturers, their suppliers, and affiliated end-user organizations. While the cordage institute sets a wide variety of standards for a wide variety of uses, the standard that is of interest to our industry is the International Guideline for Fiber Rope Inspection and Retirement Criteria – specifically section 4 (CI 2001-04).

    CI 2001-04


     

    As we mentioned above, section four covers fiber rope inspection and retirement criteria. This section is further broken down into sub-sections that outline the different requirements for an effective inspection and retirement program.

    4.1.1

    Section 4.1.1 states that the user is responsible for establishing a program for inspection and retirement that considers conditions of use and degree of risk for the application. It outlines that a program should include:

    • Assignment of supervisory responsibility. Meaning that an individual should be made responsible for establishing the program, training and qualifying inspectors, and preserving records;
    • Written procedures;
    • Training;
    • Record keeping;
    • Establishment of retirement criteria for each application; and
    • Inspection schedules

    4.1.2

    Section 4.1.2 states that ropes that secure or control valuable assets or whose failure would cause serious damage, pollution, or threat to life warrant more scrutiny than ropes in non-critical use. It goes on to state that if a fiber rope is used in a highly demanding application, with potentially critical risks, the advice of a qualified person should be obtained when developing the specific inspection and retirement program.

    4.1.3

    Section 4.1.3 states that the user should continue to revise and refine the program based on experience.

    CI 2001-4.3


     

    Section 4.3 covers rope inspections logs. We have talked about the importance of a rope inspection log in this previous blog post. This section states “An important tool for rope evaluation is a log. This will include data on the type of rope, time in service and description of intended use. The details of every inspection should be entered in the log as to date, location and conclusions. The log should include a regular inspection schedule”.

    Most rope manufacturers include a rope log with their rope. However, if you don’t think it did, or you have lost it, we provide a free downloadable rope log in our Knowledge Base.

    CI 2001-5.1.1


     

    Section 5.1.1 covers rope tags. This is a tag that is attached to the rope that outlines the rope, model number, manufacturing date, MBS, and manufacturer. If this tag is illegible the rope should be retired immediately. If the rope does not come with a tag you can make your own. Also, using shrink tube is an inexpensive solution to attach your tag to a rope and keep it protected.

    Rope Inspection


     

    Section 6 outlines rope inspection. We took a deep dive into rope inspection in this previous blog post. It also talks about rope care & maintenance – like rope wash which we talked about in this blog post. Last, but not least, it covers proper rope storage. We covered rope storage in this blog post.

    Rope Retirement


     

    If a rope’s tag is illegible or if it no longer passes inspection, it is time to retire the rope and purchase a new one. Rope retirement doesn’t mean just throw the rope back in your truck or trailer, it means cutting the rope into pieces so small that it would no longer be useful for a crew to try and use.

    If you’ve got any questions about rope, rope inspection, or rope retirement, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of rope.

    Click here to download your free rope inspection log.

    Click here to see all of our rope focused 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 Videos: 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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