How to improve lone worker safety in data centre and server rooms

lone worker in data center

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How could you improve lone worker safety in data centre and server rooms?

Improve lone worker safety in data centre and server rooms is very important for an employer. It is true that the fire of 10th March 2021 at Strasburg OVH data centre put attention at safety in data centre and server rooms, but as we know, safety in this sector involved not only the building and of the data, but also workers.

What is a data centre?

First of all we need to define data centre and server rooms. While a data centre is an entire building dedicated to storage big quantities of data, server room is most common in office buildings and companies who wants to manage their data systems by themselves. We can easily define a server room as a small data centre.

Why could a data centre be dangerous for lone worker?

Although they seems to be safe, data centre can hide lot of hazards for IT workers, that most of the time operate as lone workers and in daily time where there are few or no people in building/offices.

Next to traditional risks, this areas have other hazards as the electrical one, due to the high voltage, heating, ventilation and dust that can cause fire, confined space, etc., due to the high presence of server in the same space. For a detailed analysis of risks you can read here.

How could you reduce risks for lone worker?

So the most important issue is how to reduce risks for lone workers in these area. The following case study explains how we have reduced the risks involved with lone working in server rooms in a world leading company in defense system.

Objectives

The company needed to give more safety at IT technicians who works in the different server rooms in different company plants. It was looking for a solution that could be integrated with central alarm monitoring system already in use in their control room. In addition they wanted to furnish IT workers with a man down system that does not use GSM signal, because the signal was not available in most of the server rooms.

Possible solutions available

A first solution was to extend the GSM covering to the rest of the buildings. The cost of implemented this solution would have been high and in addition it have to be involved a third partner without warranties of messages deliveries.

As an alternative it could have been possible to use a Smartphone with an app sending alarm trough Wi-Fi connection. This solution would allow to use software already in the market that could be integrated with central alarm monitor software already used by the company. In this way the company can receive the alarm on the same console already used to supervise the other systems.

At the end the company decided to proceed with this last option.

Implementation

Once it is chosen the Wi-Fi solution  the project was implemented in several steps.

First of all a dedicated Wi-Fi LAN, already used for monitoring systems, was extended also to server rooms. The company had neither need to have rugged device nor to furnish each IT technician with a personal Smartphone. They chose to create an area, immediately before the each server room, where the technician can find the Smartphone with the app installed, instructions on how to use it and tools to recharge it. In this way each technician who has to operate as lone worker can have a device available when needed. Each device was associated to a unique server room avoiding in this way a IPS (Indoor Position System). To improve safety, in case a Smartphone would be used in a different area, it will be notified in the alarm the access point Wi-Fi SSID name referred to the area where the device is connected.

In addition each Smartphone had installed an app that do not allow users to download inappropriate app or to do an inappropriate modification.

In other word, the Smartphone allow only to install VerticalMan® lone worker safety app.

The app reveals only:

  • Man down situation
  • “Motionless man”
  • Low Battery

It notifies the alarm at the central alarm monitor system (Aldea SuSi on SCADA Movicon Application) in the control room thanks to a web interface (ASWI), also developed by Aldea, on the server.

Because the app would be not used daily but only when needed, we agreed with the company to activate a notification of activation in the control panel of central alarm monitor managed software.

Addition plus

Due to the presence of several server rooms, since the beginning of the project we suggested to the company to install and configure a central system of remote configuration. This solution simplify the process of configuration and updating of each device, avoid additional costs of a third party to configure them and simplify the work of people who are responsible of system management.

Conclusion

Thanks to the extreme versatility of VerticalMan® app, with over 140 customizable parameters, we can offer the perfect solution not only for lone worker safety in data centre, but also for each sector, studying with each customer the best solution for his needs.

If you need a professional solution for your lone worker that fit the needs of your company send an email to [email protected]

Panel control description:

Device IDIdentifier of the device used in that area – with the application installed.
In useThe app is activate in the area indicated.
Man down alarmLone worker is down when the red light is on.
“Motionless man” alarmIf the red light is on it means that the user has been motionless for too long, even if in an upright position.
Battery run-down/flat alarmIf the red light is on, it means that the device has an almost flat battery and needs to be charged.
SSID access point last alarmIndicates the name of the Wi-Fi access point to which the device was connected at the time of the last alarm signal.
ConfigurationIf the switch is set to 1, alarms are active.

Solution summary

Lone worker SolutionVerticalManWiFI
SmartphoneSamsung xCover 4 and Unihertz Atom
Alarm connectivityWi-Fi
Remote notificationWeb
IPSwith Wi-Fi SID
Control roomSCADA Application Aldea SuSi developed with Progea Movicon 11
Fulfilment2 months
Smartphone safeboxSureLock for Android

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