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Safety standards and modular approach reduce data center risk

Article written in conjunction with Datapod Occupational, Health, Safety and Environment Manager Shontelle Hellyer.

One of the main factors CIO’s and Data Center Project Managers assess when planning a new data center or data center upgrade is Work Health and Safety (WHS) or Occupational, Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) and the associated employee and financial risks associated with these projects.

Data center builds are classified as construction and therefore falls under the highest risk OHSE/WHS category. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (USA) the construction industry incurs more occupational fatalities than any other sector in the United States and Europe.

The deployment of a Datapod data center system turns construction related risk on its head.

The manufactured modular approach means the risks associated with the construction of an onsite data center are significantly reduced.

The manufactured approach to data center construction means 100% of the data center construction is conducted in a factory environment. Each module of a Datapod System is constructed and Factory Acceptance Tested (FAT) before being transported and assembled onsite. This approach to data center deployment means the construction or assembly of an onsite data center can be achieved in as little as 72 hours.

The benefits of a short time on site combined with the manufactured approach, when compared to a traditional bricks and mortar data center build, has significant advantages for organisations, including reducing the risk of Lost Time Injuries (LTI’s) and reducing the risk of common physical and mechanical based hazards including:

  • Reducing the number of staff required onsite
  • Falls and risks associated with working at height
  • Construction site trips
  • Falling objects
  • Working with machines with sharp edges, hot surfaces and moving parts
  • Noise and hearing related injuries associated with heavy equipment

Datapod’s onsite safety procedures include appointing a full time WHSE representative to each onsite assembly with risk assessments conducted by Datapod and data from Datapod customers showing the Datapod modular data center approach can reduce scheduled time onsite by up to 95% and construction risks by up to 90% when compared to a traditional data center build.

The elimination and reduction of risk and the speed of assembly has significant staff and capital productivity gains for Datapod customers with facilities becoming operational in short times after deployment (time to operation can be dependent on the jurisdiction and the clearances required before operation).

Data center safety standards add value

Datapod has safety at the heart of everything they do and adds value to the supply chain of leading organisations. Although safety standards may vary considerably between countries, the complex modules of the Datapod System are assembled according to ISO4801 (Safety) and ISO14001 (Environmental) standards.

The Datapod System is also manufactured under the ISO9001 quality guidelines by staff that undergo ongoing workplace safety training and assessments. Daily ‘Toolbox’ information sessions enable staff to keep up-to-date with the latest safety issues as well as any changes in codes of practice.

These high standards translate to a quality product and a trusted reliable data center solution for Datapod customers. Organisations can be assured their brand image and brand value are not placed at risk while overall disruption to a work place is reduced. This attention to safety has hidden benefits for Datapod customers with some insurance companies offering lower premiums and financial savings for companies who can demonstrate good OHSE performance through their supply chain.

Mini Modular Data Center Safety Case Study

Customer: Australian Mining Company
Project: Five module 100 kW modular data center
Time on site: Five days
Safety measures employed:
* Staff work site accreditation
* Site debrief
* Full risk and hazard assessment
* Employment of hazardous work site work protocols
* Ongoing onsite OHSE monitoring
* Site and task specific PPE
* Daily Workplace Occupational, Health, Safety and Environment information briefings
Outcome achieved: The successful deployment of 100 kW data center to a remote mining location in Western Australia ready to deliver higher onsite computing power and communications.