Survey: Most heavy data center equipment is manually lifted

Anonymous survey results show 85+ percent of data centers installing rack-mount equipment weighing more than 50 pounds are forgoing the help of lifting equipment.

ServerLift, a company that provides equipment used to lift and move heavy data center equipment, recently reported the results of an anonymous survey it conducted “at a large tech trade show,” the company said. “The participants were not asked for any personal information to encourage honesty and minimize bias, so we could offer the most accurate data center trend analysis,” ServerLift explained.

Through survey responses, the company was able to compare the method respondents use to move equipment and the average weight of the rack-mounted equipment being installed. Of 249 respondents, 225 of them (90.3 percent) indicated they install rack-mounted equipment that weighs more than 50 pounds. Of that group, 86.1 percent use manual lifting to move and install their rack-mounted equipment; 6 percent use a generic warehouse lift to move and install their rack-mounted equipment, and nearly 8 percent (7.87 percent to be precise) use equipment from ServerLift to move and install their rack-mounted equipment.

When reporting these results, ServerLift cited an OSHA document as support for the use of equipment like its own to move heavy objects—in data centers or any other work environment. The company says that OSHA’s Technical Lifting Manual “recommends using ‘mechanical means to avoid injury when lifting equipment heavier than 50 pounds.’ According to OSHA, ‘manual materials handling is the principle source of compensable injury in the American work force.’ Four out of five of these injuries affect the lower back with most back injuries occurring as a direct result of ‘improper lifting techniques and lifting loads that are too heavy for the back to support.’”

You can see ServerLift’s complete analysis of its survey here.

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