ANSI

  1. ANSI Standard for Descent Devices

    Few devices in your gear bag are as versatile as your descender. Whether you need to descend quickly, slowly over time, or perform a rescue, this device can do it all and keep you safe in the process. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the ANSI Standards for descent devices.

    ANSI Z359.4-2013


     

    ANSI Z359.4-2013 outlines the safety requirements for assisted-rescue and self-rescue systems, subsystems and components. I know what you’re thinking: that title doesn’t say anything about descent devices. But, in the scope of the standard, it does mention descent control devices. An important clarification for you to know is that this standard is for rescue, not work positioning. We will cover more about that later.

    Section 3.2.7: Descent Devices


     

    The ANSI Z359.4-2013 standard is further broken down by sections. Section 3.2.7 specifically covers descent devices and is broken down into additional subsections for additional clarification.

    Section 3.2.7.1

    Section 3.2.7.1 covers descent energy and capacity for both single-use and multiple use devices.

    Section 3.2.7.2

    This section looks at descent speed – setting requirements for the maximum distance that you can lower yourself. For devices like the Petzl I’D Small Self-Braking Rope Descender or WestFall Pro D4 Descender for 7/16” Rope the maximum descent speed is 6.6 feet per second.

    Section 3.2.7.3

    This section covers static strength. Static strength is defined as a singular force being put on the device. Think of this a constant rate of force – similar to holding and maintaining a load.

    Section 3.2.7.4

    Section 3.2.7.4 covers dynamic strength. Dynamic strength is defined as a peak force being put on the device. Think of this as a sudden shock of force – similar to the force that is exerted in the event of a fall.

    Section 3.2.7.5

    This final section covers the general function of the device. This is where features like anti-panic come into play. If excessive force is applied or if you let go of the device completely, the device should halt the descent within 6 inches.

    Work Positioning


     

    Earlier we mentioned that the ANSI Z359.4-2013 standard is for rescue and not work positioning. In fact, at the time of this writing, there is no ANSI Standard that covers the use of descent devices for work positioning. This doesn’t make them unsafe or mean they are not suitable for work positioning. It just means that no official standard has been released for specifications and requirements. Devices like the Petzl I’D or WestFall Pro D4 are great devices for descending down to work in suspension in a range of situations like on a tower, painting, or cleaning windows. Of course, you still need to have proper fall arrest in place like a rope grab on a backup lifeline or an SRL.

    **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 fall protection equipment is used.

    Not sure which descender is right for you or have questions about the ANSI Z359.4-2013 Standard? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see the Petzl I’D Small Self-Braking Rope Descender

    Click here to see the WestFall Pro D4 Descender

    Click here to see our full selection of Descenders

    ANSI Standard for Descent Devices: 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® will be coming to your ears in early 2019 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 to get alerted when our first episode drops, head on over to gearexperts.com. There's a trailer there too, so you can get a sneak peek of the show.

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  2. Carabiner Gates 101

    There are few, if any, items in your gear bag that are as versatile as a carabiner. Carabiners come in all shapes, sizes, and strengths and making sure that the carabiner you use is up to the task is an important part of your safety. In this blog post, our Gear Experts® are going to give you the low down on carabiner gates.

    Gate Ratings


     

    A carabiner gate is the portion of the carabiner that can open to allow the carabiner to attach to the item you want to attach it to. The gate will have a specific rating that states how many pounds of force can be applied on the gate before it is damaged. This rating is separate from the load rating of the carabiner and will be stamped directly on the gate. Typically, it will be in one of 3 formats: 3,600 lbs., 16kN, or 3.6m. If you do not see this stamp on your carabiner there’s a good chance you’re not in compliance and you should not continue to work with that gear.

    Hiking Through the Woods


     

    We’ve all see those carabiners that hold your keys or are used to connect your canteen to your hiking backpack. Imagine that you are on a hike and you have your canteen connected to your backpack with one of those carabiners. As you climb the motion of the backpack moving slowly wiggles the gate of the carabiner open and your canteen falls to the forest floor. You’re focused on getting to your campsite and you bought an ultra-lightweight canteen, so you don’t notice that it falls off – that is, until you go to get a nice refreshing drink of water. If only you had used a carabiner with a gate mechanism. Then your canteen wouldn’t have been able to be opened by accident and you wouldn’t have lost your favorite canteen.

    Carabiner Gate Mechanisms


     

    The purpose of carabiner gate mechanisms is to prevent the accidental opening of the carabiner while it is in use. Losing your canteen while hiking is bad but having your carabiner come detached from an anchorage point while you are 100 feet up on a tower is worse. Carabiner gates come in a few different varieties (screw-lock, twist-lock, and auto-lock). For tower climbing, the most common is the twist lock, but some other work may require another variety of gate function.

    Screw-Lock

    The screw-lock operates by unscrewing the sleeve down the gate to open. This gate will not auto-lock as the sleeve has to be manually tightened after the gate snaps shut.

    Twist-Lock

    The twist-lock is a double action gate that quickly opens with a simple twist and pull movement.

    Auto-Lock

    This is a three-stage design as it requires 3 different motions to open. First you pull the sleeve down, then twist, then pull back to open. Some auto-lock carabiners only twist in one direction, while others can twist left or right.

    Click here to download a free PDF copy of the above poster.

    Got more questions about carabiner gate mechanisms? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of carabiners

    Carabiners: Playlist


     

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  3. Eye Protection: The ANSI Z87.1 Standard

    Your eyes – some refer to them as windows to the soul. Others simply use them to see. Either way, it’s hard to argue that your eyesight isn’t important. This week our Gear Experts® are going to cover eye protection and what makes safety glasses…safe.

    Standards


     

    Anyone can claim that their safety glasses are safe – that’s why standards have been put in place. Specifically, the ANSI Z87.1 Standard for eye protection. The Z87.1 Standard outlines what requirements safety glasses must meet as well as how they should be tested. This ANSI Standard covers a range of different topics including:

    → Minimum thickness for lenses

    → Markings

    → Spectacles vs. Goggles

    While each of these are important we are going to be focusing on impact resistance for the remainder of this blog post.

    Testing


     

    The ANSI Z87.1 Standard has four different qualifying tests.

    Test 1

    The lowest level test is done by dropping a 1-inch steel ball on the lens from about 50 inches. This is like getting hit in the eye with a golf ball being thrown from a few feet away. If a pair of safety glasses pass the first test they meet the Z87.1 Standard, meaning they are good protection, but not great. This test does not qualify the glasses for use where there may be a hazard of an impact.

    Z87+

    For work where there is, or may be, impact hazards your safety glasses must be stamped with a Z87+ marking. The Z87+ marking symbolizes that the glasses are Z87.1 compliant and pass the remaining 3 tests.

    Test 2

    The first test to qualify for the Z87+ qualification is having a 0.25-inch steel ball fired at 6 specific spots on the lens at 150 feet per second. This is like being shot in the eye with a BB gun. Basically, if your glasses have passed this test you won’t shoot your eye out.

     

    Test 3

    The next test is a high mass impact test. It is performed by taking a 17.6-ounce steel missile – weighing just over 1 pound (500 grams) – and dropping it from 50-inches. This can be compared to getting hit in the eye with the end of a shovel or the head of a hammer.

    Test 4

    The final test is a puncture test. This test is performed by dropping a sharp needle – weighing 1.56 ounces – on the lens from 50 inches. This is like getting hit in the eye with a dart.

    Results

    If during all these tests, no part of the eyewear breaks and no fragments come detached from the frame it will earn the Z87+ badge.

    Military Grade


     

    If you need added protection you can move to the next step up with safety glasses, like the Odin Skullerz from Ergodyne, that also meet military ballistic standards. The MIL-PRF 32432 standard means that the eye protection has also passed the ballistic fragmentation test. To pass this test the eyewear must be able to withstand a .15 caliber round fired at 640 feet per second – that’s roughly 440 miles per hour.

    For more information on eye protection and safety glasses click here to view our free downloadable PDF Eyewear 101 poster. Need help picking out the right safety glasses or just have more questions? Contact one of our Gear Experts® to learn more.

    Click here to see our full selection of Eye Protection

    ANSI Z87 Standard for Eye Protection: The Video


     

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  4. Tool Tethers

    The ISEA/ANSI 121 Dropped Objects Prevention Standard has officially been released so we wanted to take some time to discuss everything involved with the Dropped Objects Prevention Standard. ANSI 121 is 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. This week our Gear Experts® are going to discuss tool tethers and how you can prepare to be in compliance with ANSI 121.

    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. GME Supply is happy to partner with leading names in the tool tethering industry like Ty-Flot, Ergodyne, Klein Tools, and DBI Sala.

    How They Work


     

    Tool tethers help prevent injury, damage to expensive equipment or tools, and lost productivity. Believe it or not, dropped objects are still a huge cause of injury and even death in the United States. Tool tethers have a range of connections points. Almost all the tethers we offer feature a carabiner for connection to your harness or bolt bag. The carabiners are available in single and double action configurations.

    Tool tethers have 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 a connection point to your tool.

    Tool Traps – This is a “holster” that your tool can fit in that provides the connection point and can stay on the tool while it's being used. It is most common to find this for measuring tapes and power tools.

    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.

    We know what your thinking! Having 15 different tethers for your tools is going to add a lot of weight and be inconvenient when you’re up 150 feet on a tower. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too. There are many tool tethers that have a modular construction. Essentially there is a clip below the shock absorbing portion of the tether that can be swapped out. So, instead of having a tether for each tool you can simply have a connection point and tether loop on each of your tools that can be easily switched out.

    Drop Test


     

    We decided to do a drop test to see the forces placed on your body by a dropped tool. For this test, we used the Rock Exotica LC1 Enforcer Load Cell. For a control, we utilized a static sling. When we dropped a Klein Bull Pin (which weighs 3 pounds) the forces maxed out at 98 pounds. With a variety of tool tethers, we had forces range from 70 to 38 pounds. That’s a significant difference from the 98-pound static drop!

    **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

    The Full Video:


     

    Check out the full video of our drop test here ↓

     

    Tool Tethers: The Playlist


     

    Over the years we have featured a ton of different tool tethers. Check out the full playlist on our YouTube Channel or, right here ↓

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  5. Product Spotlight: Petzl Jag

    This week we are going to talk about the Petzl Jag 4:1 Self Contained Haul System. The Jag is an extremely versatile system offering a 4:1 mechanical advantage making it useful in a variety of applications such as pickoffs, tensioning, and making a releasable anchor. In this week's blog our Gear Experts® are going to give you the full scoop on the Petzl Jag.

    What is Included in the System?


     

    The Petzl Jag System Haul Kit features an 8-millimeter rope, two Petzl Am’D Triact-Lock aluminum carabiners, a Petzl P45 Jag High Efficiency Double Pulley, and a Petzl P54 Jag Traxion High Efficiency Double Progress Capture Pulley. The Jag System Haul Kit is available in one, two, and five-meter versions. This system is also color coded. The victim is in the black and the operator is in the yellow. It makes it super easy for you to grab and with a single glance know which end is which.

    The Breakdown


    The Top

    The top part of the system is the Jag Traxion High Efficiency Double Progress Capture Pulley. This pulley has a cam built into the top to capture the progress when you’re raising the load. It also has a becket, so you can tie off the rope there, and it has two very efficient pulleys which together give about 91% efficiency – that’s high for a pulley of this size. To start the haul, you simply lock the cam down onto the rope.

    The Bottom

    The bottom part of the unit uses the very lightweight and small Jag High Efficiency Double Pulley. This pulley features sheaves mounted on the ball bearing for increased efficiency and can hold rope between 8 and 11 millimeters.

    Perfect for Rescue


     

    This system is great for any situation when you’d need to raise someone off their dorsal d-ring. The one-meter version is the perfect length for getting someone who’s fallen on the dorsal d-ring, busted their shock pack, and is hanging in a position where they may get suspension trauma. The rope is attached to the Traxion Pulley with a sewn termination and the other end of the rope has a sewn termination with a knot in it to prevent it from slipping through the pulley.

    Closed System Capability


     

    There may come a time where you want this system to be closed. What we mean by a closed system is that you will want the system to be tamper proof. To set up this system simply remove the bottom carabiner and replace it with the Petzl P28 Ring Open Multi-Directional Gated Ring. You should connect the ring to a Petzl I’D. The ring is then closed with a 3mm allen key. After that, you can lock the Petzl I’D as well. Click here for instructions on how to lock your Petzl I’D.

    **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 fall protection equipment is used.

    Got more questions about the Petzl Jag? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see the Petzl Jag

    Click here to see our full selection of Petzl Items

    The Petzl Jag Self-Contained Haul System


     

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  6. SRL ANSI Classes

    An SRL, or Self-Retracting Lifeline is a device that contains a spring-loaded retracting web or cable lanyard wound around an internal drum. This device automatically locks and arrests the fall of a worker. SRLs come in a range of different shapes and sizes. There are also a range of types available for different environments and mounting styles. However, there is one thing that all SRLs used on a job site have in common: ANSI Class ratings. This week our Gear Experts® have put together a guide outlining the ANSI SRL Classes.

    ANSI Classes


     

    ANSI Z359.14-2014 classifies SRLs into two classes. Those classes are Class A and Class B. The main differentiators between the two classes are stopping distance and arresting forces.

    Class A:


     

    In order for an SRL to be Class A it must meet the following requirements:

    → Have a maximum arresting distance that does not exceed 24 inches.
    → Have an arresting force that does not exceed 1,350 pounds (6 kN)
    → Have a maximum peak force of 1,800 pounds (8 kN)
    → After environmental conditioning (hot, cold, or wet) the average arresting force must not exceed 1,575 pounds (7 kN)
    → After environmental conditioning (hot, cold, or wet) the maximum peak force must not exceed 1,800 pounds (8 kN)

    Class B:


     

    In order for an SRL to be Class B it must meet the following requirements:

    → Have a maximum arresting distance that does not exceed 54 inches.
    → Have an arresting force that does not exceed 900 pounds (4 kN)
    → Have a maximum peak force of 1,800 pounds (8 kN)
    → After environmental conditioning (hot, cold, or wet) the average arresting force must not exceed 1,125 pounds (5 kN)
    → After environmental conditioning (hot, cold, or wet) the maximum peak force must not exceed 1,800 pounds (8 kN)

    Comparison:


     

    Each of these devices has benefits based on the jobsite and working conditions. As you can see above a Class A device will stop your fall faster, but with more forces applied to the body. Class B devices, on the other hand, will take longer to arrest the fall, but will reduce the g-forces significantly. Which device you should use depends on your environment. If you have plenty of fall clearance below you, then a Class B device could be the perfect fit. However, if you are working in close quarters and don’t have that extra fall clearance, then you will need a Class A device.

    For more information about SRL Classes click here to visit our knowledge base.

    ANSI SRL Classes Defined: Video


     

    **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 fall protection equipment is used.

    Click here to see our full selection of SRLs

    Get Social


     

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