The forklift battery maintenance and handling area is an important place within any warehouse -- but it can also be dangerous, even fatal, for the personnel who work with these forklift batteries if the right safety measures aren't taken.
To help keep personnel working at warehouses throughout the country safe while on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a series of regulations that all warehouses must follow. For example, all personnel who work within the lift truck battery room are required to have received adequate safety and battery maintenance training.
The lift truck battery room is a very specialized part of the warehouse and has some very specific potential dangers. One of the biggest dangers is the risk of hydrogen gas – a byproduct of the normal lead-acid battery charging cycle – accumulating and concentrating in the workspace.
At a concentration of 4%, hydrogen gas can ignite, and in the worst-case scenarios, hydrogen gas can explode. Because of this, every battery room must have proper detection and ventilation equipment to keep the hazards of hydrogen gas at a minimum.
The heart of many warehouses is the forklift battery charging and changing area, but this part of the warehouse is also filled with potential hazards that could bring operations to a halt.
The forklift battery is notorious for the number of hazards it presents to warehouse personnel. These 2,000-pound batteries contain corrosive chemicals, electrolyte, and heavy metals that make forklift battery maintenance highly dangerous if the right safety precautions aren't in place.
Forklift battery maintenance at any warehouse requires a number of key processes, from lubrication and cleaning to watering and charging. In fact, the battery room is likely the most integral part of your warehouse's everyday operations.
To maintain these forklift batteries, the first step is to properly extract the battery from its forklift, and to then transfer it to the battery handling area. To do this, it's recommended that personnel have a battery transfer carriage to do the job safely and quickly.