Safety Considerations When Recharging New Or Used Forklift Batteries

Posted on: 11 April 2017

Whether your facility uses new or used forklift batteries, it's crucial for safety to be first and foremost when it comes to recharging forklift batteries. Rechargeable forklift batteries are heavy, contain sulfuric acid, and produce hydrogen. Here are several safety features every forklift battery recharging station should have. 

Protect against muscle strains 

While your employees may have the strength it takes to lift batteries out of forklifts and place them in the recharging station, it's a good idea to have lifting beams, hoists, conveyor systems, and other material handling equipment to properly lift the batteries out and place them appropriately without running the risk of straining their backs and other muscle groups.

The reason for this is due to the weight of the batteries as well as any possible contouring your employees may have to due to remove and place the batteries, depending on the confines of your facility. Also, it's important for the batteries to be as level as possible at all times, due to the chemicals inside. 

Protect against sulfuric acid spills 

Using handling equipment will help keep the batteries level, which can help reduce the risks of spillage. You'll also need to provide protective gear, such as rubber gloves and goggles, to protect your employees from the sulfuric acid they may come in contact with when moving the batteries. Instruct your employees to always wear the protective gear when handling batteries and to avoid taking shortcuts or rushing.

If the sulfuric acid does spill and your employees come in direct contact with it, they will need to wash the acid as quickly as possible. Therefore, you'll also need to have an operable washing station in the direct vicinity of the battery recharging station and a separate yet adjacent eye-washing station in case as well. 

Reduce the amount of hydrogen that can accumulate 

Another risk to be aware of regarding forklift batteries is that they produce hydrogen when they are charging. Hydrogen is a highly explosive gas, particularly when it accumulates in a confined area. Because of this, reduce the risk of explosion by eliminating excessive heat and sparks in and near the recharging station area. 

It's important to have a ventilation system to control the hydrogen in and around the battery recharging station. Additionally, a hydrogen monitor should be functioning at all times to warn everyone in the facility when the hydrogen has accumulated to dangerous levels. You can click here for more info on used forklift batteries.