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Datacenter Fall Protection

Powerful Solutions for Rooftop Fall Protection at Data Centers

Implementing OSHA-compliant rooftop fall protection solutions is imperative for workers on data center rooftops, ensuring both their safety and enhanced productivity in conducting frequent inspections, maintenance, and servicing of critical equipment.

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Published on: December 18, 2023

There’s an old expression, “Knowledge is Power,” but for a data center that contains a storehouse of information, power is knowledge. It takes substantial electric power to run computers at a data center. It takes significant power to operate the air conditioning systems to make sure the computers and ancillary equipment remain cool and operate in a low-humidity environment.

Since downtime would be costly, facility managers at data centers must ensure that the HVAC front-line and back-up systems are in tip-top shape. This requires frequent inspections, maintenance, and servicing of equipment typically located on the roof. Workers performing these tasks need OSHA-compliant rooftop fall protection to ensure their safety and—with the proper fall protection equipment in place—enhance their productivity.

Roof Access Requirements

Data Center Fall Protection

An excellent start to rooftop fall protection is to make sure that entry and exit to the roof are guarded. A roof hatch kit uses an OSHA-compliant railing system with grab bars for safe egress. A ladder system should also be flanked by railings at the roof edge and may also require a vertical lifeline to go up or down the ladder. Whether accessing the roof by a hatch or ladder, a self-closing gate completes the hatch kit or ladder system to prevent the worker from falling backward through the entry point.

Protect the Perimeter

Data Center Fall Protection

There is no more apparent danger than the roof edge and no better fall protection system for a flat or low-slope roof than a perimeter guardrail system. It protects all workers “collectively” without needing special equipment or training.

A modular, pipe-fitted system with counterbalance weights installs easily without welding (or hot works permits) and does not penetrate the roof membrane. This means no water leakage or dust contamination from holes in the roof.

Galvanized steel components—rails, upright posts, and connector fittings—are corrosion-resistant and can be powder-coated for added visibility. If system weight on the rooftop is a concern, a lightweight aluminum guardrail system—also corrosion-resistant—is just as durable.

Walk on the Safe Side

A rooftop crowded with equipment and various obstacles—ductwork, cables, piping—presents a host of trip hazards. A roof walkway system with anti-slip treads provides a clear path for workers. It can be configured for slopes up to 35 degrees, fitted with guardrails, and constituted as a “crossover” platform to accommodate a change in roof level or ascend over any obstacles.

A “WORKAROUND” that Doesn’t Cut Corners

Workers may need to reach taller heights to access large HVAC systems, outbuildings, generators and other equipment. Ladders are easy, but working on a ladder is restrictive and can be another fall hazard. The solution is a static, mobile, or custom modular work platform. Work platforms combine the structure and advantages of a roof walkway, crossover platform, and guardrail system to provide optimum fall protection. They can turn corners around the equipment and enable workers to move freely about the platform from point to point and boost productivity compared to ladders.

OSHA-compliant “SUNSCREEN”

Data Center Fall Protection

Skylights allow the sun’s power to brighten up a building’s interior; however, they are technically considered a hole in the roof because a skylight may not be able to support the weight of a worker.

There are two essential types of skylight fall protection, neither of which block the sunshine:

  1. Skylight Guardrails – corrosion-resistant galvanized steel railing system installed around the perimeter of the skylight or dome.
  2. Skylight Screens – curved cover over the skylight that is easy to install and available in galvanized or stainless steel. Available in various sizes, they can be used on curb-style skylights, standing seam, or corrugated metal roofs.

Which solution is best for you?

If you are responsible for rooftop fall protection and worker safety at data centers, increase your bargaining power by contacting Flexible Lifeline Systems. We can discuss your needs and concerns about regulatory compliance, visit your site to conduct a safety audit, and map out a plan of action. Our services can include as little or as much as you need, from design, engineering, fabrication, installation, training, and other support.

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