Apple has certainly had better weeks.
Just days after a small fire broke out among the data center racks at Apple’s Arizona facility, the tech giant’s North Carolina data center experienced a chlorine leak on Tuesday, June 2.
According to EnGadget.com, the chlorine leak is believed to have been a result of a computer server rack cooling error. Catawba County Emergency Services swept in with a HazMat team as soon as they heard of the leak. Paramedics treated five workers at the scene for dizziness and shortness of breath, then transported the personnel to a nearby hospital for chemical exposure.
In a statement, Apple admitted its workers were exposed to noxious chlorine fumes. The company uses the chemical to clean its data centers’ cooling systems. When inhaled, chlorine gas attacks the lungs and causes fluid build-up that leads to shortness of breath and eventual drowning if not treated. Because of this, chlorine gas has been used as a chemical weapon in World War I and other conflicts.
Computer server rack cooling is one of the most key components of properly maintaining a data center facility. The majority of data centers are maintained at a temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent servers from overheating. If a server room’s temperature dips below 50 degrees or rises above 82 degrees, its servers won’t perform at their optimal level.
All five Apple employees were discharged from the hospital the day after the spill and are expected to return to work this week.
Luckily, no other personnel within the data center sustained injuries from the spill, EnGadget.com reports.
“The spill was quickly contained and poses no threat to anyone else at the facility,” an Apple spokesperson said.
What are your thoughts on this story? How can data centers stay free of chlorine leaks and other hazards in their server rack enclosures to help keep personnel safe? Share with us by leaving a comment below.