The forklift battery might be the most essential piece of equipment in your warehouse, as it’s responsible for keeping your forklifts up and running. However, these batteries come with a number of severe safety hazards that could result in catastrophe if the right precautions aren’t taken.
Are your warehouse personnel in danger of being injured or even killed by your forklift batteries or forklift battery changing equipment? Here’s a list of the three most prevalent battery room safety hazards, along with ways you can keep your personnel safe:
The average forklift battery is immense in size and weight — these aren’t AA batteries. When each battery weighs around 2,000 pounds, it’s incredibly easy for personnel to strain themselves when trying to lift or move them. This can lead to neck and back problems that could even compromise a worker’s ability to do any type of physical labor in the future. To prevent against these musculoskeletal strains, ensure that all forklift battery handling procedures are carried out with the right equipment. In addition, all personnel should wear steel-toed boots during any forklift battery changing processes to protect their feet from these massive batteries.
Chemical spills and burns
Most warehouses still use lead-acid forklift batteries — and as the name implies, these batteries contain corrosive acid, electrolyte and heavy metals, all of which are extremely dangerous. These substances can leak out of the battery during the handling, charging or washing processes and can harm personnel’s skin and eyes. Because of this, all personnel must wear the right protective gear in the battery room such as goggles, rubber gloves, aprons and face protection.
The chemical processes that take place within each forklift battery help it generate the electricity needed to power your forklifts — but these processes also create a dangerous byproduct. Hydrogen gas, in high enough concentrations, can result in explosion and fire in your battery room. In addition, this gas is an asphyxiant, meaning it can cause personnel to lose consciousness or even die. OSHA policies dictate that all battery rooms must have adequate ventilation systems to prevent against these very dangers.
Want to know more about keeping your personnel safe during a forklift battery changing procedure? Ask us any questions you may have in the comments below.