Charging forklift battery may seem a simple approach but there are safety concerns that you must follow doing this procedure. If adequate measures are to be put into practice, accidents could be avoided. The best arsenal a forklift operator should have at his disposal is knowledge. Knowledge could be attained by giving them routine training at different aspects of safety and that includes battery charging.
Some of these best practices have been included in the OSHA Material Handling and Storage 1910.178 standard. However, we have also incorporated many safe practices for your education and learning:
- Never wear a jewelry made of metal when charging battery. Remove first any metallic object from your body before you detach the battery terminals.
- Always wear proper personal protective equipments doing this task.
- Always perform this task at designated location only. A company should allocate a place only for battery charging.
- Prevent short circuit by removing tools other metallic objects on top of the battery. Short circuit could produce arc and sudden blast of sparks. The battery could explode. Battery has sulfuric acid in it that could splatter on your face and open skin.
- When pulling out battery, using a hoist could be a suitable to do the task conveniently and without difficulty. Position the forklift to align with the hoist.
- Insert the hooks in the lifting holes of the battery, ensure that it is tight and secured, before lifting the battery up.
- Position correctly the forklift with the battery charger. Make sure that forklift would not move or budge during charging.
- Check the battery terminal, if it already corroded, you can call the maintenance personnel to properly clean or change it.
- Always maintain a working fire extinguisher in the area.
- A “NO SMOKING” sign should be installed in the charging area. Never allow someone to smoke during this procedure.
- Provide well ventilated area for battery charging. Hydrogen gas could accumulate, it is very flammable gas. Charging the battery in air-circulated area can get rid of this gas.
- Make sure that the charger is off before attaching the clamp connector.
- Make sure the charge is off before detaching the clamp connector.
- Know how long doest it take to charge the battery. Some battery, depending on the condition and state, could be charged at short or longer time.
Battery Charging Station Layout and Area Requirements
With the proliferation of use of electric-powered forklifts in the warehouse, there will always be a necessity for a designated room where operators can charge batteries when necessary. It will always be a requirement especially if the employer has a large fleet. It is imperative for employers to provide forklift battery charging room
At this article, we will be giving you the good consideration when setting up your own.
The Place Should Be Well Aerated
Well ventilated place is important when designing your battery charging room. Hydrogen gas could build up in the area and as we know it, H is very flammable and explosive gas. With just an electrical spark, it could explode. Because of the characteristics (odorless, colorless, explosive and flammable), it is highly dangerous to not to take notice of. Always keep the hydrogen gas at the charging room at below 2%. Above that percentile, there could be a chance of explosion. A safety officer having a gas monitor can regularly check the place for hydrogen gas.
Provision of Sulfuric Acid Resistant Flooring for the Charging Room
The acid in the battery is highly corrosive. It is inevitable to spill it on the floor during repeated times of use of the charging room. The floor should resist the acidic fluids.
If the room is not resistant, there are epoxies suited for this kind application.
Provision of Applicable Safety Equipment
Ensure that such equipment are always present can mitigate the risks. Such devices and apparatus are class E fire extinguishers, first aid kits, PPEs (apron, gloves, eye protection, etc). The charging station could also be fitted with a washing area so that whenever an emergency washing off of chemicals can be done quickly. These are essential for the safety of the forklift operators.
Electrical Breakers Should be Installed
Chargers are wall mounted when designing a charging room. It should be fitted with a breaker for each charging point to halt the surge of electricity during an emergency. An electrical engineer can set up the power requirements.
When several forklifts are being charged simultaneously in the room, the space between each other should be at least 1 meter. Tripping is a safety hazard during charging operation.
Regular Maintenance Should Be Performed When Room Is Constructed
A regular inspection of the safety officer or someone in-charge for the maintenance of the room should be done. It is vital to maintain the equipment as well the as the charging room to mitigate the existence of hazards.
Maintenance would include regular housekeeping, inspection, monitoring of the area.
To Conclude This
Forklift battery charging safety will depend on many aspects, it includes forklift operator’s competence and compliance of the employer to OSHA rules and regulation. Employers that focus on safety can help its personnel to maintain the workplace to be free from menace and perils.