The truth about date center safety

What is the Number One Secret to Data Center Safety?

The number one secret to data center safety is preventing on-the-job injuries before they happen. Instinctively you know this, but you may not be focusing on what is actually the biggest risk of injury in the data center environment.

No, We’re Not Talking About  Not Cybersecurity

Why is it that when we mention data center safety, the first thing most technology managers think of is cybersecurity? Or, they mention reducing hearing loss by blocking the noise pollution from the ambient sounds of cooling fans and the beeping, humming data center environment? Or, they talk about cable management and the risks of tripping and falling? Also, they are concerned with fire hazards and how to prevent them.

We’re not talking about any of these hazards. We’re talking about something that your engineers and maintenance teams probably do every day without thinking of it. But it’s the one thing that actually exponentially increases your onsite risk for a safety snafu.

Why is it ok for data center workers, normally hired for their brain (not their brawn) to lift 500-pound hardware? Everyone does it, but no one seems to be talking about it. The truth is, you can enact every safety measure that will lessen the risk of injury, but if you don’t introduce something to lessen the heavy lifting, your liability goes up.

The Facts on Data Center Injuries

While lifting heavy equipment is one of the most common tasks in today’s data center, it’s rare to find an onsite policy that eliminates risky procedures that threaten equipment and the people that try to migrate it.

OSHA reports the following as the most frequent injuries in an industrial environment:

  • Falls
  • Struck by object
  • Electrocutions
  • Caught-in/between

The Lancet, a well-respected publisher of social health-related findings, states that low back pain is the leading cause of human disability around the world.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps tabs on the volume of nonfatal injuries in the U.S. via their Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. Their most recent records from 2015 show:

  • Close to $3 million reported cases of on-the-job injuries that year.
  • The average number of days missed per injury incident was eight.
  • There were 324,700 incidents involving “sprains, strains, tears.”
  • 155,740 were back injuries.
  • 238,610 were cases that involved slips, falls, and trips.

While no data exists that tracks injuries specific to the data center environment, we think having even one employee injured in your data center is one too many.

Preventative Maintenance Starts with an Assisted Lifting Device (ALD)

The architects of today’s data centers are increasingly concerned with preventative maintenance. That’s because IT has shifted from a back-office function to the core of business today. You’ve got a lot riding on ensuring data center uptime, guarding against cyber breach, and creating redundancy with all that hardware and software.

It might startle you to realize you are missing one piece in your preventative maintenance plan – that is to ensure against the risk of employee injury by installing an assisted lifting device (ALD).

 What is the number one secret to data center safety?

There is only one thing you can do to reduce the risk of physical injury when installing or decommissioning new hardware. Data center safety really starts when you take the heavy lifting out of equipment installation with an ALD.