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“Big Blue Cart” Proves To Be The Right Tool For The Job In Decorah

Alliant Energy’s Decorah Battery Project is made up of several metal containers filled with the latest innovations in energy storage technology.

But even with all of this state-of-the art equipment, a simple metal cart RackLift™ powered by a hand crank played one of the most important roles in getting the battery in-service.

“Each of the racks in the main container holds twelve batteries at heights varying from ankle-high to well over your head,” said Rick Zimmerman, Alliant Energy Senior Strategic Project Engineer. “We needed to make the installation not only easier, but also safer.”

When You Need To Lift Switches The Size Of Pigs

We’ve heard so many Data Center Technicians tell us they have to perform lifts on some real “pigs” and it’s a problem for them. They weren’t describing the snorting farm animal but referring to huge, oversized servers that go far beyond “standard depth”.
When they need to lift large and heavy devices like this, some switch lifts just don’t cut it because of difficulty navigating and carrying the pig sideways through narrow aisles. Standard warehouse lifts are out of the question for too many reasons to mention here.

Are Data Center Workers Human Server Lifting Fork Lifts?

Over one third of all injuries in the data center are from manual server lifting and handling. Musculoskeletal disorders are the primary affliction, accounting for 60% of those work-related issues.

It’s important that Data Center Managers impose safe limits for employees that are carrying out manual handling tasks. OSHA suggests 50 pounds as a maximum weight limit. Knowing what factors affect your employees’ ability to perform the task and awareness of manual handling weight limits will enable you to implement safe processes. If the loads are relatively light then good handling techniques may be all that is required to keep your people safe.

Moving Fully Populated Cabinets

Data centers are in a constant state of flux. The demand for faster equipment, greater data storage and changes in corporate strategies all drive the need for equipment moves in the DC. Some of the reorganization would be well served with the ability to transport the entire loaded cabinet.

What? Transport The Entire Loaded Cabinet? Blasphemy!

Best Practices for Data Center Safety

Often 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.

A Warehouse Lift Is Not A Data Center Lift

When you’re evaluating a switch lift for your data center there are two aspects to consider – one is about suitability for use in data centers and the other relates to code or policy violations. Sure, you can buy a general purpose warehouse lift very cheaply and in doing so you’ll be trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.

Here’s Why: