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Datacenter Fall Protection

Fall Protection for Data Centers

OSHA/ANSI solutions for Bitcoin Mining, Edge, and Hyper-scale Data Centers. Systems for cooling plants, rooftop access, and roof edge protection.

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Fall protection for Data Centers

Three factors make data centers one of the most unique and challenging operational environments: (1) they house data storage and server equipment that is sensitive to heat, and humidity, (2) they require a temperature range of 70-75°F (21-24°C) to be maintained to function properly, and (3) they are often capable of generating five times the heat density of an average office space.

Although precise air-handling systems like CRAC and CRAH units are installed in interior spaces, depending on their size, they can require massive water-chilling plant rooms and chains of rooftop cooling towers and condenser water systems to dissipate or reject heat. Proper layout of data center rooftop mechanical systems such as air handlers, backup power systems, networking and cabling systems, environmental controls, and security systems is critical for safe rooftop and facade maintenance routines.

Some of the nation’s largest Bitcoin mining, edge, and hyper-scale data facilities rely on Flexible Lifeline Systems passive, active, and restraint work-at-height solutions for their safety and OSHA/ANSI/IBC compliance.

customer testimonial It has been a little over a year since FLS installed our overhead fall protection systems. The system is awesome and technicians still tell me it’s cool! When I train someone, I always say look up, everything in yellow is part of our fall protection system. It is said that the people make the company – FLS is a true testament to this. Their fall protection specialists are knowledgeable and experienced in their field and it shows in their work.

~ Frank (United Airlines)

Do I need fall protection on a roof?

Probably, however OSHA allows for the use of work rules in lieu of fall protection on low slope roofs if there is no work or access withing 15’ of the edge of the roof.  The employer must document, train and enforce this rule for anyone accessing the roof.  Other fall hazards on the roof such as fragile roofs, skylights, and roof hatches may also require protection.  This method protection using a work rule is the least effective method of protecting from falls and should only be used if other means of protection are infeasible.

What are safe methods to access roofs?

Fixed ladder, temporary ladders, stairs and manlifts are all potentially safe methods of accessing a roof.  A job hazard analysis should be performed to ensure the access can be done in a safe manner.  If near the edge, protecting access points with additional guardrail around the access point to protect the worker once on the roof should also be considered.  Depending on the height of a fixed ladder it may require additional fall protection. Ensure temporary ladders are used correctly and extend above the roof level and are not near a roof corner.  When using a man lift to access a roof ensure it can extend to a safe place to access the roof before exiting.

ANCHORAGES:

1910.140(12) Anchors used to attach to personal fall protection equipment must be independent of any anchorage used to suspend employees or platforms on which employees work. Anchorages used to attach to personal fall protection equipment on mobile work platforms on powered industrial trucks must be attached to an overhead member of the platform, at a point located above and near the center of the platform.

PERSONAL FALL PROTECTION:

1910.140 Personal Fall Arrest Systems: The employer must ensure that each personal fall protection system used must comply with the requirements in this section:

  1. Limit the maximum arresting force on the employee to 1,800 pounds; 1910.140(d)(1)
  2. Bring the employee to a complete stop and limit the maximum deceleration distance the employee travels to 3.5 feet; 1910.140(d)(1)
  3. Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of the employee free falling a distance of 6 feet, or the free fall distance permitted by the system; and… 1910.140(d)(1)
  4. Sustain the employee within the system/strap configuration without making contact with the employee’s neck and chin area. 1910.140(d)(1)

REGULAR INSPECTIONS:

In the absence of a specific requirement for Inspection, OSHA Sec 5.a.1 becomes default: OSHA Sec 5.a.1 (a) Each employer – (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees; 29 USC 654 (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act. (b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.

Following manufacturer’s requirements is considered a reasonable effort to satisfy this general rule and employee responsibility. Flexible Lifeline Systems follows the requirements set by the manufacturer of the components that are used to build your system. Additionally, ANSI Standards ANSI/ASSE Z359.2 Z.359.6-2016 9.2, while not codified as law, are considered to be “best practices” and often required by many companies – insurance, banking, etc., to provide coverage such as worker compensation or professional insurance, or to assess capital asset values. These standards speak directly to importance of regular inspection of fall protection systems.

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