10 May 2021

Tackling safety and digital acceleration

By Scott Puddy, Head of Safety

It takes more than just cutting-edge technology to build the infrastructure platform powering the internet and fuelling growth of the digital economy. It takes a team of committed people with energy and passion in every position to make a business great.

Safety manifests as an obsession for ensuring all our people, customers and visitors to our sites are always safe. For us, only zero injuries is acceptable.

Milestone: One year of zero LTIs

Analysts claim that Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation by 10 years. A phenomenon that generated an increase in both customer visits and Remote Hands tasks performed by our data centre technicians.

Our safety-first ethos saw us achieve some significant milestones in recent months including passing one full year with Zero Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) across all NEXTDC sites (achieved in November 2020) and across all capital projects (March 2021).

Data centres are full of high voltage electricity feeds, heavy plant and equipment, and an array of working-at-height risks so, to achieve ~18 months without any LTIs anywhere across all of our facilities is an outstanding achievement.

Surpassing 12 months without an LTI on our major high-rise constructions (S2 and P2) and massive expansion works at M2 – where 18MW of new capacity is being enabled for new cloud availability zones – is testament to how seriously we take safety.

These sorts of safety outcomes don’t happen by chance. Our continuous improvement processes have seen several new safety measures implemented to help further mitigate risks at our facilities. New access platforms for air handling units at C1 and water towers at B1 represent the latest safety projects executed under our ‘Ladders Last’ initiative, and dedicated WHS officers have been appointed at every NEXTDC site.

Hunting down the hazards

One safety-first, best practice initiative contributing to keeping all our people, customers and contractors safe when they are on our sites is the annual 'NEXTDC Safety Hazard Hunt'.

Our annual safety hazard hunt coincides with the holiday period, historically a time when incidents increase across all industries. Designed to empower staff and improve engagement on potential hazard identification, the program is an opportunity for the team to have a serious look at their work environment through a safety lens.

The Duke of Hazard

Data centre technician, Louis Serra took out gold in 2020’s Hazard Hunt. Louis – a safety champion at NEXTDC who also won the inaugural 2019 Safety Hunt – identified a potential hazard at our B2 Brisbane data centre relating to cooling tower control boards.

Louis’ high level of perception identified a risk mitigation initiative, which he immediately acted and implemented a plan to rectify the issue with a custom-made workaround that would ensure the safety of everyone onsite. This mitigation control has now been implemented nationally..

This proactive approach to safety contributes to continually improving existing facilities and designs for future site developments.

Empowering safety every day

Safety is an evergreen necessity. It’s an ongoing communication priority and a cornerstone of our corporate culture. It’s also something we engage closely with customers, contractors, and industry peers about, so we’re all working towards outstanding safety performance.

In partnership with our customers, partners and suppliers we share a common goal; to promote a safety-first culture where everyone feels inspired to contribute to a safe environment they feel proud of, where they’re empowered to speak up and drive real change.

To better understand how NEXTDC can support your critical IT operations and ensure you and your teams' safety is continually top of mind, reach out and connect with a specialist.

For more on NEXTDC’s approach to safety see:

Why safety is our highest priority Safety, in the words of the people making it happen Putting safety first