Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Ergonomics of Hand and Power Tools

Hand and power tools are a major industry, with an estimated $10 to $12 billion purchased annually. As a common part of our everyday life, and rapidly present in our industry, it’s important to have ergonomic hand tools or power tools that save labor and time on jobs and projects.

There are a few ergonomic concerns of hand and power tools to keep a look out for. The first is the weight of the tool. A worker should be able to operate the tool with one hand, ideally 5lbs or less. Any tool that is above 5lbs should be supported with a counterbalance.

The handles and grips of hand tools should be designed for a power grip. Tools with a bent or angled handle are beneficial to keep the exerted force in a straight line. Tools with a straight handle are best for tasks where the force is exerted perpendicularly to the straightened forearm or wrist.

A handle that is too short can cause unnecessary compression to the middle of the palm, which can extend across the entire palm.

It’s important that the materials and the texture of the handle is non-slip, non-conductive and compressible. Glossy coating and highly polished handles should be avoided, where textured rubber handles are ideal for grip and support.

Vibration can also cause injury, and can be avoided at the design stage by using anti-vibration materials that will dampen some vibration.

The ergonomic hand tools we offer our customers are designed specifically for the application, to improve workers productivity, reduce injury (including repetitive motion injuries), reduce installation times, lessen errors and reduce workers fatigue.

Here are a few of our favorite labor saving tools:

Greenlee LS100 Battery Powered Punch DriverLS100
The Greenlee LS100 Battery Powered Punch Driver is faster, safer and easier than ever. It’s 26% faster punch set up and completion, meaning less time in the hand and less overall ergonomic impact. It’s 25% less total muscle effort during punch set up and completion and 34% less muscle exertion to hold and operate the tool. The LS100 is 41% lighter than the competitor’s tool, meaning low risk of muscle fatigue, which is the first threshold to ergonomic injury. It is compatible with all Greenlee knockouts including speed punch, slugbuster and slug splitter. The tool preference ratings consistently identify the LS100 tool as the most preferred for all categories assessed.

Panduit GTS/GTH Cable Tie Installation Tools
In an effort to help you choose the right installation tool to increase productivity and promote worker safety, Panduit created the GTS and GTH tools as part of their ergonomic series of hand-operated installation tools. The lightweight, ergonomic design speeds up the installation, and reduces operator fatigue and repetitive motion injuries. It also includes flush tie cut-off that eliminates sharp edges and improves safety by preventing damage to wire bundles and to workers’ hands and arms. The ergonomic series of tools is excellent for low to medium volume GTSapplications (under 50,000 ties/year) in the OEM, MRO, and Construction markets.

  • GTS Tool installs subminiature (8 lbs.) through standard (50 lbs.) cross section cable ties
  • GTH Tool installs standard (50 lbs.) through heavy (175 lbs.) cross section cable ties

Thomas & Betts ERG4001 Manual Crimp Toolcrimping tool final
The Thomas & Betts ERG4001 Comfort Crimp Sta-Kon hand tool is engineered for crimping RA, RB and RC nylon and vinyl insulated terminals, splices, and disconnects. It has three color-coded crimp nests: red for 22 AWG – 18 AWG wire, blue for 16 AWG – 14 AWG wire and yellow for 12 AWG – 10 AWG wire. It features a Shure-Stake ratchet mechanism which ensures a complete crimp cycle and an ergonomic design which allows one-handed crimping with less force. Buy online.

Interested in learning more about hand and power tools and how you can save time, money and avoid injury? Give your French Gerleman Account Manager a call today or contact us.



Pro Football Pick ‘Em promotion – Week 8 Question

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Featured Product: Mersen’s Medium Voltage Controllable Fuse – Breakthrough Arc Flash Protection

mersen 2

Mersen’s Medium Voltage Controllable Fuse (MVCF) System is designed to mitigate the arc-flash hazard on the low-voltage side of a medium voltage transformer. The industry’s first fuse to provide normal short-circuit and overload protection while having the capability to open on command, this fuse is a cost effective arc flash solution with minimal installation downtime and ownership maintenance.

Mersen developed the MVCF in response to OSHA Code 29 CFR-1910 Subpart S, requiring employers to identify and analyze arc-flash hazards and provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). For many installations, the arc-flash energy is over 40 cal/cm2, which is too high for PPE, requiring owners to prevent access to those areas unless power is disconnected. This is typically unworkable and does not mitigate the hazard.  Visit Mersen’s Arc Flash Info Center for additional information.

mersen 3

Features and benefits:

  • Fuses fit into existing clips and space. The retrofit can be completed in minutes, provided fiber optic cable is already in place.
  • Lowest-cost arc-flash mitigation solution. A turnkey installation of the MVCF will cost a fraction of other available alternatives.
  • Exceptional performance.
    • 50kA short circuit interrupt rating.
    • Fast response time mitigates the arc-flash energy to Category 2 PPE.
  • Low maintenance. Fuses are designed to last 20 years with no maintenance intervals, and the battery lasts for three years.
  • Flexible design interface. Designed to be used with a variety of conventional arc-flash detection devices and relays.
  • No nuisance-tripping. Actuator modules are programmed to ignore trip signals when primary current is below the fuse rating.
  • Automatically performs a weekly system check. Confirms continuity on all FO lines.
  • Minimal stress on other devices. The fuse element softens the voltage spike that occurs when opening. Alternatives may generate an excessive spike that could damage transformer insulation or upstream devices.
  • Small back-up power cells. The MVCF utilizes small batteries that fit inside the Controllable Fuse Actuator Module (CFAM) versus other solutions requiring multiple lead-acid car batteries

How does the MVCF’s Intelligent Fuse System work?

  • The Mersen MVCF operates like a normal MV fuse under short circuit and overload situations. When connected to an Arc-Flash detection system that is properly set up, the MVCF will open the circuit in time to limit the hazard to Category 2 PPE.
  • The Mersen MVCF System’s Interface Module (CFIM) is mounted in the low voltage area and accepts a trip signal from the customer’s existing arc-flash detection relay.
  • The CFIM immediately sends a signal over fiber-optic cables to the Actuator Modules (CFAM) attached to the bottoms of the fuses in the medium voltage cabinet.
  • The CFAM then causes a switch within the fuse to open. This shunts the current through a much smaller fuse element that opens the circuit in a controlled manner.

To learn how you can use Mersen’s MVCF to help cost-effectively mitigate arc-flash hazards, contact your French Gerleman representative.

Pro Football Pick ‘Em promotion – Week 7 Question

Thank you for taking part in our 4th annual Pro Football Pick ‘Em Challenge!  

To qualify for our random weekly blog drawing, you must be a registered participant in our Pro Football Pick ‘Em promotion. You may register by clicking here.

Good Luck!

This week’s question of the week has closed. Stay tuned for the next one!

LED Lighting Retrofits Reduce Labor and Maintenance Costs

LED lighting continues to be a hot topic, and in our last blog we focused on the energy saving from LED lighting retrofits. But the benefits don’t stop there! Retrofitting reduces installation time and labor costs and your overall investment in maintenance over the life of the fixture.

Faster Installation

If your facility presents challenging conditions for fixture access (high ceiling heights, lighting placement over equipment, etc.), reducing labor time and cost via a retrofit solution should be an important consideration. The faster the installation can be completed, the less disruption the project will have to your operations.

Reduced Labor and Maintenance Costs

In many applications, leaving the existing fixture housing in place can reduce the labor cost associated with an upgrade to LED lighting. This helps improve the project economics and overall return on investment. The long lifespan of LEDs dramatically reduce maintenance costs.  LED fixtures typically require a single annual inspection versus lamp, ballast and lens replacements common with traditional lighting fixtures.

French Gerleman Featured Retrofit Products



The EVOKit makes it easier and more affordable than ever to make the transition from fluorescent troffers to energy-efficient LED. The EVOKit from Philips are compatible with both standard and narrow T-grids and they can be fitted without having to enter your ceiling. It harnesses the latest advances in lighting technology to provide unparalleled energy-efficiency. With 110 lumens of light per watt, it is powerful enough to replace fluorescent troffers whole consuming significantly less energy. As if the savings weren’t enough, it also takes less than 5 minutes to install each fixture!


InstantFit Lamps
The LED T8 InstantFit Lamp from Philips offers over 41% energy savings versus the F32T8 electronic instant start systems. The InstantFit is a direct replacement for T8 lamps and works off of all instant start ballasts and most program rapid start ballasts. This lamp has no mercury, allowing for non-hazardous waste disposal. Emitting virtually no UV rays or IR, it is glass-free for safer working conditions. It is perfect for full light output in spaces with temperatures down to -22F, applications with frequent on/off switching cycles and for buildings that desire to be mercury free.



If you’re looking for an enclosed or gasketed floodlighting, look no further than the Areamaster from Appleton. It is designed for a variety of general applications including marine and hazardous locations. It is attractively styled with a rugged build for dependable and vandal resistant service. These lights are weatherproof and are perfect for small to very large areas.

The Mercmaster LED Series from Emerson provide supreme energy efficiency and safety for locations that are subject to severe conditions, vibrations and shock, hazardous locations and corrosive chemicals. The Mercmaster LED series is extremely reliable and durable, and is growing increasingly prevalent in industry settings. With no mercury, a beam that gives off no heat and twice the utilization efficiency of an HID lamp, LED is the perfect option for any company looking to become more “Green”. Where can the Mercmaster be used? It is ideal for marine, wet locations such as waste and sewage treatment facilities. It is also perfect for a wide range of industrial, chemical and processing facilities where flammable gases and vapors are present. It’s also great for areas of low clearance and non-hazardous locations where severe weather conditions are encountered.

Ready to learn more about LED lighting and retrofits? Join us at our French Gerleman St. Louis Customer Center on Thursday, October 29, for our LED Upgrade Opportunities event! We will be featuring live demonstrations and a chance to discuss your retrofit project with product experts. Click HERE to register and learn more about the event. We hope to see you there!


Pro Football Pick ‘Em promotion – Week 6 Question

Thank you for taking part in our 4th annual Pro Football Pick ‘Em Challenge!

To qualify for our random weekly blog drawing, you must be a registered participant in our Pro Football Pick ‘Em promotion. You may register by clicking here..

Good Luck!

This week’s question of the week has closed. Stay tuned for the next one!

LED Lighting Retrofits for Energy Savings

We have presented the pros and cons of making the switch to LED lighting in a previous blog and we wanted to delve into the benefits of LED Retrofits. Businesses who are looking to become more energy efficient are turning to LED retrofit. By retrofitting traditional lighting fixtures, you are harnessing the efficiency and reliability of LEDs cost-effectively with minimal disruption to your business.

LED technology reduces electrical consumption compared to conventional lighting systems, and also offers controllability and light uniformity, which can be a benefit to your business. Not only does LED lighting provide a substantial reduction in energy usage, by using the existing installation they decrease your initial installation investment.

Featured LED Lighting Retrofit Products

Lithonia Lighting


The KAD-LED is the most cost effective 400W Metal Halide replacement available today! The Contour Series luminaries offer traditional square dayforms with softened edges for a versatile look. The long life and energy savings of the KAD-LED makes it perfect for illuminating streets, parking lots, walkways and surrounding outdoor areas.


The RV6 LED Retrofit commercial downlight delivers up to 1500 lumens, allowing you to upgrade your existing “pan-style” housings to a more energy efficient LED technology in just a matter of minutes! The RV6 is idea for retrofit applications where lighting performance and design are critical. For example, offices, corridors, reception areas, schools and retail environments.

Universal Lighting


Everline RK Kit
The Everline LED retrofit kits convert 2′ or 4′ fixtures to LED lighting. It includes everything you need for a simple installation, there’s no hassle! It is available in 2,300 lumens to 6,000 lumens with an 82 CRI and CCTs of 3500K, 4000K and 5000K.


In our next blog we will focus on the reduced labor and maintenance costs associated with LED lighting retrofit. Be sure to check back next week to see how you can save money and see our featured products.

Interested in learning more about LED lighting and retrofits? Join us on Thursday, October 29, for our LED Upgrade Opportunities event at our French Gerleman St. Louis Customer Center! The event will feature live demonstrations and a chance to discuss your retrofit project with product experts. Click HERE to learn more or to register.

Pro Football Pick ‘Em promotion – Week 5 Question

Thank you for taking part in our 4th annual Pro Football Pick ‘Em Challenge!

To qualify for our random weekly blog drawing, you must be a registered participant in our Pro Football Pick ‘Em promotion. You may register by clicking here.

Good Luck!

This week’s question of the week has closed. Stay tuned for the next one!

Fall Protection – Three Key Areas

“Falls” and “Struck by Object” were the top two OSHA standards violated in FY2014.  They accounted for 386 total deaths in construction in CY 2013 and are considered top two of the “Fatal Four” (falls, struck by object, electrocutions and caught –in/between).  Eliminating the “Fatal Four” would save the lives of 478 U.S. workers each year.1 Because of this, Fall Protection is one of the top 10 OSHA company citations.

How can you avoid a citation or accident? Our Safety team can help coordinate the inspection of your fall protection equipment through industry leading manufacturer partners to make sure your OSHA’s safety requirements are current.

We offer access to a large network of industry manufacturer professionals that can provide a variety of safety assessments and training for your company and employees. We can help coordinate a review of your safety equipment to aid you in determining what products, services or recommendations you might need to reduce employee risk.

Let’s take a moment to review the current OSHA Fall Protection regulations.

OSHA, a government agency that regulates safety requirements for companies, has required safety for individuals that work at heights.

  • OSHA 1910 Regulations: for general industry, requires that anyone who works more than 4 feet off of the ground are required to wear fall protection.
  • OSHA 1926.501 Regulations: for construction, requires that anyone that works more than 6 feet off of the ground are required to wear fall protection

In this post, we highlight three key areas of fall protection: training, inspection and fitting.

Fall Protection

French Gerleman can help coordinate fall protection training for your company through industry leading safety manufacturers such as 3M. Training covers the proper donning of equipment, prior to use inspections, and proper care and maintenance of equipment.

OSHA requires an annual inspection of all fall protection equipment. Over time this equipment can become damaged and it is important to replace or update equipment as needed.  Schedule annual inspections of body harnesses, connection devices and anchor points to ensure all products are functioning as intended.


Fall protection equipment should fit correctly.  Make sure every employee is fitted properly for maximum safety and to increase adoption of your fall protection program.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these important safety considerations, call 800-333-3122 and ask to speak with a member of our safety team.