National Forklift Safety Day is June 14, 2022. Exponential Power’s team of professionals is proactive in creating and nurturing safe workplace environments, and we’re honored to be part of this national focus on forklift safety.
“Regardless of where you work, everyone deserves a safe environment in which they do their job,” says Exponential Power Branch Manager Quinn Ludvik, “Our commitment at Exponential Power is to support our customers in achieving that goal.” With that in mind, let’s discuss OSHA’s recommendations for how to safely charge a forklift battery:
OSHA lists these sources of potential hazards:
- Batteries are very heavy.
- Batteries contain sulfuric acid that is highly corrosive and could be splashed on personnel servicing or changing batteries.
- Toward the end of the battery charging process, batteries can give off highly explosive hydrogen fumes.
- Contact with battery cells can cause electrical short circuits, which can burn unprotected skin.
To protect against these hazards, OSHA recommends the following for forklift battery charging:
- Your operation must have detailed safety protocols in place — staff should be trained to always follow the recommended procedure safely. Training should include emergency procedures. Do not allow untrained personnel to charge and change batteries in electric forklifts.
- Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn for all hazardous tasks.
- Let your battery cool before charging or operating if it is above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Ensure proper electrolyte levels. Do not overfill.
- Create a safe, properly equipped battery charging area (aka, battery room).
- Always charge your industrial forklift batteries using an appropriately rated battery charger. Using the right charger helps prevent battery damage, ensures your batteries are charged at the optimal level and creates a safer work environment.
In addition, OSHA recommends what to include in a battery charging area:
- Posted warning signs
- Adequate fire protection
- Ample and readily available water supply for flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte
- Eyewash station with at least 15 minutes of flow
- Adequate ventilation in storage areas to disperse flammable hydrogen gas
Need assistance? Contact us today.