Best Practices for Data Center Safety

Caveman In Data CenterOften the biggest focus of Data Center Managers is uptime and efficiency. The spotlight is centered squarely on IT equipment and software with attention going to servers, backup units, storage devices, recovery systems, power distribution, and cooling systems. With so much attention placed on the operation of the apparatus, the important aspects of data center safety often takes a back seat.

The people that keep it all running are the most valuable asset to any data center. Yet all-too-often, they are not provided the right equipment to properly and safely handle the devices for which they are responsible to maintain. In many cases they are actually expected to apply brute force to manually lift and install devices in a rack. Recently those devices have grown in both size and weight, exponentially increasing risk of injury in the DC work environment.

It’s not a surprise that work related injuries are very costly. It seems however, that data center safety is not given priority until someone is injured when dropping a heavy server during a manual install attempt. Unfortunately, we are a reactive society – we buy an alarm after a burglary ignoring potential problems until they become real.

Time-OFF Recovery For Injury Is SEVEN DAYS on Average

Here are the stats:*

  • 40% of all injuries requiring time away from work are from sprains, strains and tears
  • 37% were back-related
  • 42% of injuries were the due to overexertion
  • 28% were musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), also known as ergonomic injuries
  • 60% were of the back
  • 7 days is the average time off work to recuperate

*U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistic

What will the impact be when one of your key people is away from work for a week, then on “light duty” for another month as they recuperate? This happens to over 600,000 people annually. About one third of them are from back injuries that could have been prevented by changing processes or using proper equipment on the job.

Why Wait Until It Happens To You?

Data center safety is a serious matter that requires an implementation plan and funding to see it through. OSHA recommends that workers should not lift greater than 50 pounds. With many data center devices weighing 150 pounds or more a Data Center Manager can justifiably procure a data center lifter to provide a safe and easy way to lift them.

Ok, I can hear it already –

“If we get three people to lift a 150 pound server, we can keep on doing it manually. Right?”

Don’t you think it’s time you came out of the Stone Age and got yourself a RackLift?