5 Questions About Data Center Safety

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Joel Rosas is a Data Center Blogger with ServerLift.

Joel-RosasJOEL ROSAS
ServerLift

Servers are becoming more powerful and efficient with the evolution of data center technology. As a result, efficiencies create many opportunities for data center to reduce energy costs and the overall carbon footprint. There has been a lot of buzz about blade server systems and how they allow several servers to be managed centrally in one rack without the need for individual networking infrastructure and power sources. This consolidation presents a new challenge as the server chassis becoming much heavier and more difficult to handle. So what is the best method to safely and efficiently move heavier servers in the data center?

Servers and other rack-mounted equipment are traditionally handled using manual labor. Server racks can typically hold between 10 – 40 pieces of rack-mounted equipment, which can weigh between 50 and 500+ pounds. It becomes a difficult and unsafe task to manually move and lift rack-mounted equipment within a data center environment.

It is important to select a specialized server lifting system for your situation to ensure proper safety and efficiently. Some things to think about:

• How heavy is your equipment?
• How many people are currently involved in the process?
• Is it important to accurately align equipment?
• What is the height of your racks?
• How narrow are your data center aisles?

Injury Statistics Show Risk

Even the most skilled and highly trained workers are at risk of serious injury when manually moving heavy servers and data center equipment. It is imperative to invest the proper time, money and resources in ensure safe data center practices and reduce the risk of workplace injuries. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study titled Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work 2009 reported:

  • 37% total injury cases requiring days away from work were back-related
  • 42% of sprains, strains, and tears were the result of overexertion
  • In 2009, back injuries were 60% of total workplace injuries requiring time away from work

In one case, a federal contractor sued IBM for $1.4 million when a server was damaged after falling off a forklift while being moved.

An important consideration when handling server and other rack-mounted equipment is to use a specialized lift designed specifically for a data center environment. It may be the smart investment that can insure your most important data center assets – both the team and the equipment.

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