While participating in a recent roundtable discussion among data center industry leaders, I was shocked to hear of an estimate that at least 50% of data centers allow energized work. And it gets worse. Depending on how you define energized work, that figure could be even higher.
Simply put, data center technicians who work on energized equipment put themselves and others around them at risk. According to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, between 500 and 700 people die every year from arc flash incidents. More than 2,000 people with arc flash injuries are treated annually in burn centers. The average cost of medical treatment from an arc flash injury is $1.5 million, with average litigation costs between $10 million-$15 million.
These arc flash accidents are absolutely devastating, and they are preventable. That’s why I believe that data center executives must step up and take a stand to prohibit working on energized equipment. The culture needs to change.
But how do we convince more data centers operators to adopt a culture of compliance toward current safety rules? What are the steps forward to a safer workplace?