Many warehouses are beginning to switch from combustion engine forklifts to electric forklifts in order to lower operating costs and improve environmental impacts. While electric forklifts have a longer lifespan than gas forklifts, they require proper care and maintenance. Lead-acid batteries can take up to eight hours to charge fully, so it’s important that the warehouse has a safe and efficient battery charging room. Here are four ways to make battery charging rooms safer.
Forklift batteries can emit hydrogen gas while they are re-charging, and for a short time afterwards, so it’s vital that the charging rooms are properly ventilated. The hydrogen gas level in the charging room should be below two percent to mitigate possible risks of explosion. Installation of exhaust fans, or providing an opening in the roof of the warehouse, will further reduce this risk.
The flooring of the charging rooms must be resistant to acid because battery acid is highly corrosive. Unfortunately, spills do happen, but if floor is acid-resistant the spill will be easier to clean up. Without acid-resistant flooring, the corrosive battery acids could result in structural damage to the warehouse.
Availability to safety equipment
All charging rooms should be fitted with a washing area and a Class E fire extinguisher. Forklift operators may need to be able to quickly extinguish an electrical fire, and/or perform an emergency wash. First-aid kits and personal protective equipment (apron, gloves and eye protection) should also be available in the battery charging rooms.
Correct installation of electrical breakers and charging points
Chargers should be mounted on the wall and fitted with an electrical breaker to stop the flow of electricity in an emergency. When charging multiple forklifts, the distance between each truck should be at least three feet. The distance between forklifts provides safe and easy access for operators.
At KION North America, we care about the safety and efficiency of your warehouse. Follow these four steps to make your battery charging rooms safer. If you’re looking to purchase an electric forklift, our Linde and Baoli brands offer solutions for every application. Have more questions? Contact us at 843-875-8000.