A Collaborative Initiative for Safer and More Efficient Data Centers

A Collaborative Initiative for Safer and More Efficient Data Centers

NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / June 25, 2024 / According to McKinsey, in the US alone the data center market is expected to reach 35 gigawatts by 2030, which is a 48% increase over the 17 gigawatts the market had in 2022. The US accounts for approximately 40% of the global data center market, and similar growth is expected across the global market. To meet demand, existing data center providers are building new data centers with new data center companies entering the market each year.

Data centers were historically owned/operated by one enterprise who was responsible for health and safety*. The boom of 3rd party data centers, especially with multiple tenants, has resulted in a complex multi-employer work environment. The recognition of safety hazards associated with these complex multi-employer spaces has only emerged over the past 5-7 years. Implementing company-wide health and safety programs designed to mitigate multi-employer risks has been challenging, as these data center businesses have been in a rapid growth cycle since 2020. The rapid growth has resulted in a large data center industry, in which many companies are less than six years old, safety programs that are not fully mature, and limited numbers of safety professionals with data center experience.

Collective Industry Action to Address Safety Gaps

In August 2023, 25 data center H&S professionals representing 12 companies gathered to discuss H&S challenges and share best practices across the industry. Recognizing the opportunity for industry leadership, a group of data center companies founded the Data Center Safety Council Council, an industry consortium dedicated to developing collaborative solutions to some of the data center industry’s most pressing H&S challenges. Sarah Kasper, Senior Director, Environment, Health and Safety at EdgeCore Digital Infrastructure, eloquently articulates the “why” for the formation of this consortium at this critical time in the industry.

Consistency and Uniformity

The primary motivation for establishing the Data Center Safety Council is to achieve consistency and uniformity in safety protocols. Different data centers often have varying safety practices, which can lead to confusion and communication breakdowns. By standardizing safety expectations, the council ensures that all workers, regardless of their location or the company they work for, adhere to the same protocols. This uniformity reduces confusion, enhances communication, and fosters a unified approach to safety in all data centers.

Enhanced Safety Performance

Standardized safety expectations help to establish a baseline for safety performance, which is essential for minimizing accidents, incidents, and injuries. With clear, consistent guidelines in place, data centers can more effectively safeguard their employees by creating a safer working environment for all employees involved in commissioning, operations, and maintenance activities. This not only protects workers but also contributes to a safer, more reliable operation. By establishing these standards, the council aims to significantly improve safety performance across the board.

Risk Mitigation

A proactive approach to safety is critical in the high-stakes environment of data centers. Standardized safety expectations help in identifying and mitigating potential hazards before they become issues. Clear guidelines and procedures allow for a systematic approach to risk management, promoting a culture where safety is a continuous priority. This proactive stance is essential for preventing accidents and ensuring the well-being of all employees. By setting clear guidelines and procedures, the Safety Council can help in preventing potential hazards and promoting a culture of safety consciousness among workers.

Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with safety regulations and industry standards is non-negotiable in the data center industry. Standardizing safety expectations helps ensure that all data centers operate within legal requirements, avoiding potential penalties and demonstrating a commitment to high safety standards. This not only protects the companies legally but also enhances their reputation as responsible and conscientious operators.

Efficiency and Productivity

When safety protocols are standardized, workers can perform their tasks more efficiently, knowing that they are protected and procedures are clear. This reduces the likelihood of disruptions caused by safety incidents, thereby enhancing overall productivity. The Safety Council’s efforts to minimize risks directly contribute to smoother, more efficient operations across multiple data centers.

Industry Leadership

Establishing a Safety Council focused on standardizing safety expectations showcases industry leadership and a commitment to excellence in safety practices. This collaboration showcases the dedication to setting high standards and leading by example. It enhances the reputation of data center owners within the industry as responsible and safety-conscious organizations willing to work together for the greater good.

Continuous Improvement

The Data Center Safety Council can serve as a platform for continuous improvement in safety practices by fostering collaboration, sharing best practices, and implementing feedback mechanisms from workers. This iterative approach can lead to a culture of learning and improvement in safety standards.

A Step Forward

In the rapidly growing data center industry, safety is paramount. There is a need for collaboration and standardization of best practices due to the unique hazards present across the data center industry and the rapid surge of infrastructure development. Prioritizing health and safety is crucial to manage operational complexities and worker safety across the industry and ensure sustained success of the data center industry. The formation of the Data Center Safety Council demonstrates leadership from key industry stakeholders coming together to standardize safety expectations, enhance the experience of workers, and foster a culture of safety across the industry.

About the Data Center Safety Council

Established in January 2024 by founding members EdgeCore Digital Infrastructure , Salesforce, STACK Infrastructure, Vantage Data Centers, and Yondr Group, the Data Center Safety Council was created to establish a unified approach towards ensuring safety and wellbeing of personnel in data center operations. The vision is to create a forum where health and safety professionals work collaboratively as an industry group to improve data center worker safety wholistically. Together, member companies will address common issues and seek long-term solutions with vendors and suppliers for the benefit and safety of data center workers. For more information, please contact Kate Asleson at kate.asleson@anteagroup.us

* “Safety” throughout this article considers the whole occupational health and safety agenda.

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View the original press release on accesswire.com

View the original press release on accesswire.com