A WAREHOUSE LIFT IS NOT A DATA CENTER LIFT

“A WAREHOUSE LIFT IS NOT A DATA CENTER LIFT,” it’s evident that the use of generic lifts like the Genie Lift in data centers can pose significant safety issues.

A survey conducted at Interop Las Vegas revealed several common issues with using generic warehouse lifts in data centers. Among the challenges noted were the instability of the lifts, with 40% of users reporting that the generic warehouse lifts they used were unstable. Additionally, 23% had issues with the lift platform sagging, and 25% faced difficulties aligning equipment at the appropriate rack level. Another 30% expressed concerns about the absence of safety straps on these lifts, and 31% found it difficult to navigate narrow data center aisles with a warehouse lift. These factors suggest that such lifts are not ideally suited for the specific demands and layout of data centers.

Moreover, a safety notice issued by Genie in 2020 indicated that certain models of their lifts experienced issues where the bottom turntable rotation bearing bolts came loose, leading to the separation of the turntable from the chassis. This could result in a machine tip-over or other structural failures, highlighting the potential risks associated with using these lifts in environments like data centers where precision and stability are crucial.

Finally, Genie’s introduction of the Spill Guard hydraulic oil containment system as a factory-fit option on some of their lifts addresses concerns about hydraulic leaks. While this innovation mitigates the risk of costly clean-ups and environmental issues, it also underlines the inherent risks of using lifts with hydraulic systems in sensitive environments like data centers.

These findings support the argument that while Genie Lifts and similar generic warehouse lifts may be more affordable, their use in data centers can introduce several safety and operational challenges that specialized data center lifts like RackLift are designed to avoid.

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) significantly impact various industries, costing American businesses over $45 billion annually due to workers’ compensation, insurance premiums, and productivity losses. BIAC emphasizes education on MSD risks, offering resources including OSHA guidelines and industry-specific data on their blog and case studies page.

MSDs encompass injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system, such as sprains, strains, and tendonitis. Work-related MSDs (WRMSDs) are often caused by factors like forceful exertion, awkward postures, repetitive motion, and extreme environmental conditions. Recognizing and addressing these risks is crucial for workplace safety and cost reduction.

Liberty Mutual reports that overexertion-related injuries cost employers $13.4 billion yearly. The U.S. Department of Labor’s 2011 data showed 33% of occupational injuries requiring time off were MSD-related. The costs extend beyond medical bills, including indirect expenses like training replacements and legal costs, typically 1.1 times the direct costs. On average, a musculoskeletal injury can cost an employer between $48,000 to $67,000 per incident.

To prevent MSDs, it’s important to design tasks accommodating a significant portion of the workforce. Equipment like Cabinet Lifts, Server/Equipment Lifts and motorized tugs/carts can reduce strain in various industries. BIAC offers both standard and custom ergonomic solutions to address these challenges. For more details on equipment and prevention strategies, visiting www.racklift.com website or contacting their engineers is recommended.

RackLift Battery Lift

“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.

Server Lifting Brick

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!

Caveman In Data Center

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.

Genie Lift No, RackLift Yes

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: