Best Practices for Charging a Forklift Battery
There are numerous ways that electric forklifts contribute to a safer warehouse, especially as far as emissions are concerned. However, as with all heavy machinery, electric forklifts require their safety precautions, especially regarding battery-charging procedures. To protect workers and to preserve the longevity of the equipment, it’s essential to consider the best safety practices for charging a forklift battery.
What are Charging stations? These stations should be kept in well-ventilated areas and equipped with spill kits, acid neutralization, emergency showers, and eye-washing stations. Charging a forklift battery produces highly flammable hydrogen gas. Smoking or creating open fires should never be allowed around these areas. Clear instructions should be present for how to respond to an acid spill or fire accurately.
Before charging a forklift battery, you need to check electrolyte levels. New water should be added only after charging is complete. Park the machine, turn off the charger and remove any metal jewelry before attaching or detaching charging cords. Inspect the charger itself, and the wires to be sure that the correct voltage charger is being used and that there is no damage to the casing or charging cords.
It can be tempting to schedule forklift charges whenever it is convenient; however, you should avoid overcharging. Charge a battery only when the level falls below 30 percent and do not continue to charge it after it is full. Overcharging a forklift will reduce the lifespan of the battery, thus creating further potential expenses and service breakdowns to your forklift. At the same time, not charging or watering your battery will lead to forklift breakdowns as well.
Watering a battery should only occur after charging a battery because watering a battery involves potential exposure to electrolyte and hydrogen gas. While watering a battery, you should wear chemical-resistant rubber gloves, a face protection shield, and a heavy apron. Only use distilled and deionized water and be cautious not to overfill battery vents. If there is a spillage, be sure to neutralize and clean the area immediately and refasten vent covers. It’s crucial to find a happy medium between charging and watering a battery. Here are steps to watering a battery.
It is also essential to be aware of the temperature at which you are storing the battery, especially directly after charging. Store forklift batteries at temperatures below 113°F. However, warehouses with extremely cold conditions can also impact battery life. Many of our forklifts, such as our stand-up electric forklift, come equipped with a cold storage conditioning option, which will guard the electrical components of your machine in these conditions.
The key takeaway from this list is you must stay aware of your battery at all times. If one is aware of what one is doing and keeps in mind the best safety practices for forklift battery charging, then taking care of the electric forklift should be a relatively simple, routine duty. At Toyota Material Handling Ohio, we provide electric forklifts and industrial forklift batteries for purchase or rent. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.