Staying Productive with Better Battery Room Cable Management
Every battery charging area needs a strategy for cable management, but many facilities downplay the importance of this crucial practice. Industrial battery chargers attach with cables, and operations with substantial forklift fleets need to manage these connections effectively in order to stay safe and productive. Proper cable management isn’t expensive, and it’s an excellent investment for facilities of all sizes.
Whether you’re installing a battery room or looking for ways to implement more efficient practices, cable management is certainly worth your consideration. Some of the benefits of a well-designed cable management system include:
Longer-Lasting Batteries and Battery Charger Cables
Cable management reduces the need for component replacement, since cables are properly positioned and safely retracted on a consistent basis. This reduces the wear on cable shielding and prevents unnatural crimps and folds from causing damage. Additionally, the connectors on forklift batteries are not subjected to unnecessary stress.
By maintaining all of your charging components in excellent condition, you can also ensure even battery wear across your entire fleet, limiting the need for premature replacements.
Improved Workplace Safety
When you’re working with 350 amp connections, cable shielding is important. Damaged charger cables are a high risk for workers, even if they follow proper handling procedures, and poorly secured cables are more likely to wear or become pitted prematurely. It should go without saying that worn or damaged cables require immediate replacement; OSHA recommends regular checks of both the cables and connectors as a part of ongoing maintenance.
It is also important to note that clutter can be dangerous when heavy machinery is in use. Forklift batteries can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, and a falling battery can cause severe injury. Battery spills can permanently damage equipment (a good reason to keep battery spill kits and other safety equipment on hand at all times).
Better Efficiency During Battery Changes
When workers don’t have to step over cluttered cords, they can complete battery changes more efficiently. Lifting equipment battery changeouts are a major source of productivity issues, and better practices have real benefits; in larger operations that run multiple shifts, a difference of a few minutes can mean thousands of dollars per year.
Cable management could also help to ensure compliance with various regulations, including OSHA 1926.441(b)(2), which states that the “charging apparatus shall be protected from damage by trucks.” Loose cables can be considered part of the charging apparatus.
OSHA also recommends cable management systems for their ergonomic benefits -- products like the BHS CR-1 Cable Retractor can limit repetitive movements and reduce the chances of an on-the-job injury.
Clutter can quickly become commonplace in a battery room, and workers can become accustomed to moving around loose cables to complete common tasks. A single accident can be disastrous -- worker injuries, property damage, and battery spills should be avoided at all costs.
The good news is that you do not need a massive budget in order to improve your cable management practices. Most facilities can see tangible benefits simply by installing a few strategically placed mounts to route cables effectively. Cable retractors can produce ergonomic benefits while preserving the life of your equipment, and models like the aforementioned CR-1 are compatible with common charger stands. Magnetic cable mounts can prevent cables from slipping out of position, providing an additional safeguard against unnecessary clutter.
Cable management isn’t complicated, but it’s absolutely worth a little bit of time and energy. By making a few minor improvements (and checking over your battery handling practices in the process), you can see a quick return on investment through improved safety, productivity, and equipment durability.
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