Google calls the data center workplace safety event (what many call an electrical arc, data center fire, or data center explosion) that injured three workers on Monday, August 8 on the center’s campus data from Council Bluffs, IA.
While Google tells Data center knowledge the electrical incident and the company’s recent outage of their Google and Maps search services are unrelated, the two incidents happened on the same day, within hours of each other. We have created this timeline of events to trace the sequence of incidents that impacted users and workers on Monday August 8 and the subsequent fallout on Tuesday August 9:
The three injured workers are in stable condition, according to a Google spokesperson.
Below is an image of the likely location of the electrical incident according to Omdia Data Center research analysts. The section outlined in red is believed to be the location of the data center substation(s).
Image Credit: Omdia Data Center Building Tracker
Data Center Fire Mitigation Integrates Worker Safety Training and PPE
Whether your digital infrastructure resides onsite or in a zone, worker safety presents unique challenges. To address the specific risk of fire explosions due to arc flash, Omdia’s senior principal analyst, Moises Levy, PhD, shares key insights: “To prevent human injury, we need to protect personnel from arc flash hazards by using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), remote operation of equipment, periodic maintenance and training, among others. »
As we move to a more strategic focus, forward-thinking data center operators are focusing on what is known as risk-informed fire protection or risk-informed data center engineering, according to Paul Amico, Head of Practice at Jensen Hughes.
The goal of risk-based efforts is to rank the likelihood of a fire scenario and then apply practical resources to mitigating it based on the level of likelihood and fallout should an unfortunate incident occur.
For example, somewhat rare electrical arcs can pose significant risks to the lives of data center workers, as evidenced by the following video:
According to Amico, it is important to engage in:
- Data center facility layout data collection
- Code review of local, national and possibly international safety requirements
- Hazard identification (HAZID) to eliminate specific hazards and mitigate risks
- Review of fire risk assessment and establishment of risk acceptability thresholds
- Comprehensive recommendations considering the results of the risk assessment using a risk matrix
If you would like to replicate this version of risk-informed fire protection, consider reviewing Amico’s full documentation. here.
Conclusion: Given the rising costs of data center fire mitigation
When you review your data center’s fire mitigation efforts, you can identify areas for improvement. One of the considerations is the cost of upgrading gas extinguishing fire safety systems, according to amir Boubaker, principal analyst at Omdia. This has to do with both the increased need for data during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and for buyers using U.S. dollars the current levels of inflation that have increased fire safety costs, according to Boubaker.
“End users in this area won’t want to get caught when many others are already investing in these systems,” Boubaker said.
Omdia, Fire Detection and Extinguishing Equipment Report – Analysis 2022
The Guardian, “Google outage: Tech giant apologizes after software update causes search engine crash“
SFGATE, “Google says data center ‘electrical incident’ unrelated to Monday’s Google outage”