How to Safely Handle a Forklift Battery

June 8, 2020 11:06 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Safety should always be your top priority whenever handling industrial equipment, whether you’re operating a forklift or just changing its battery. It’s not a particularly complicated process, but you should be aware of the potential dangers—and best practices to avoid them—before you get started changing your forklift battery.

Here’s how to safely handle a forklift battery in Jefferson, WI.

Why forklift batteries can be dangerous

There are four dangers associated with standard lead-acid forklift batteries: weight, the acid, exposure to electricity and the gases involved. First, forklift batteries are very heavy, and require either handling equipment or multiple people to lift them. The acids inside are quite caustic, too, which can cause burns if it comes into contact with skin. Charged batteries can short circuit and shock a person, or explode, and the charging process can involve dangerous levels of hydrogen gas, which are also an explosion risk.

Safe charging procedures

You can still change and charge your forklift battery without risking injury. Here are some tips:

  • Wear protective equipment and proper clothing: When you’re handling a battery, it’s important that you wear the appropriate protective clothing. This includes gloves, goggles, masks and clothing that won’t snag or get caught on the battery. You should also remove all metal jewelry, glasses and other metal objects before handling the battery.
  • Follow instructions exactly: Your battery’s manufacturer should have included instructions for charging your specific battery. Follow these instructions to the letter—the more precise you are, the less likely you’ll expose yourself to harmful chemicals and gases or cause fires and explosions.
  • Be cautious of fire hazards: Wherever you’re charging your battery, it should never be in a place where sparks or electrical arcs can happen.
  • Positive first, negative second: As with all battery charging procedures, make sure you connect the positive clamp to the positive terminal first, followed by the negative clamp and terminal.
  • Record everything: Be sure to record the process and all applicable fluid levels in a security log, each time you charge or service the battery.

Safe changing procedures

Changing the battery also requires plenty of caution and forethought. Because the batteries are so heavy and potentially dangerous, it’s important that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations exactly:

  • Use the right equipment: Whether you’re using a lift or other equipment, make sure you use what the manufacturer recommends.
  • Keep the lift stable: Always apply the brakes to the lift before you start moving the battery out of the forklift.
  • Use a battery transport cart: When you need to move the battery across a facility or out for disposal, make sure you use a battery transport cart. Typically, these will have wheels, as well as brakes, so the battery doesn’t move unless you want it to.

Do you need forklift batteries, or assistance safely charging, maintaining and changing your forklift batteries? Remis Power Systems Inc. can help. We’ll follow all the practices for safe forklift battery handling in Jefferson, WI, making the process as safe and easy as possible for you. Call us today to get started.

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