Many workers in data centers manually install rack-mounted devices and equipments that could weight more than 50 pounds, often without any kind of lifting tool. In reality, the risk of injuries could be elevated when less than three people lift equipments more than 50 pounds in weight higher than their head. It is true that data centers can be a rather safe, quiet and unassuming environment, but work-related injuries could happen to many of the workers. Other workplace hazards in data centers include electricity and flammable materials.
Every worker in data centers should be certified to safety standards and new employees should be accompanies by experienced and certified personnel when they are in risky areas. To make sure that nothing slips through the cracks, it is also important to keep a log of everything related to data center activities. Even for certified and experienced workers, classes should be repeated at least annually to make sure that related personnel is current on latest safety standards. Designated individuals should perform random walks through the data centers to check that all safety equipments are installed and proper procedures are implemented. Facility workers also need to be properly trained in safety training classes, because it can also be a serious hazard. New employees must observe more experienced and certified workers, before they are charged to perform similar tasks. It is important for data centers to have emergency procedures, including for power outages, disaster recovery and fire drills.
Each month, all fire detection and flow equipments should be examined on a monthly basis. Simple items, such as orange cones can be used to warn people about potentially dangerous electricity equipments and floor tiles that are still removed to provide access on equipments underneath. Panel puller should be available to assist us lift heavy floor panels. It is also important to make sure that all server cabinets and racks are properly secured and grounded. Unloading and loading heavy equipments into unsecured cabinets and racks may lead to tip-over risks. Castors should also be rated for specific height, if cabinets and racks are on them. Castors are can inadvertently raise the center of gravity, causing racks to tip more easily. Sprains and strains from moving and lifting items are major causes of workplace injuries. Workers should be instructed on ways to properly lift heavy equipments; especially some of the high-end servers could weigh more than 100 pounds.
It is important to be aware that lack of fire protection and detection may result in significant downtime, including the loss of the entire facility. Some facilities may not be equipped with floor layout diagrams, including the absence of clearly marked exit routes. Ample fire extinguishers should be distributed throughout the facility. Combustible material should be placed in enclosed areas with concrete walls and ceilings, as well as metal doors to prevent accidental fire from spreading to the rest of data center.