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Forklift Repair in progress

All you need to know about forklift battery maintenance

DWE Training Services in Grangemouth can help make sure your truck's batteries remain in great condition.

yellow forklift truck in a warehouse

How to look after your forklift batteries

Does your company own electric forklift trucks? If yes, do your operators know how to maintain the battery correctly? Have you done a risk assessment on the use and maintenance of your battery? Below are a few guidelines to help with the day-to-day running of an electric truck.

Understanding the challenge

It's important to know what the dangers are and what risks are associated with the battery on your forklift or any type of electric MHE. How do we assess the equipment and is it possible to reduce the risks associated with the electrical equipment without it costing a fortune?

FORKLIFT BATTERY USE AND MAINTENANCE

Every time you operate a forklift or other powered industrial truck, inspect it to ensure that it is operating properly. Ongoing forklift battery maintenance is critical to ensure the machine is always safe and ready to get your work done.

First and foremost, the forklift must be checked for enough battery charge to get the task done. Forklift batteries are generally lead acid or nickel iron. They are charged by plugging the forklift into a fixed station or an on-board charger may be brought to the forklift itself. Because the batteries contain corrosive chemicals that can burn eyes and skin, personal protective equipment should be worn to prevent contact and splashes. This should include:

  • Rubber gloves

  • Safety goggles and face shield

  • An apron

  • Steel toe cap boots to protect your feet from crush hazards

During battery charging, potentially flammable oxygen and hydrogen gases may be emitted. Choose and maintain the battery charging station location carefully to avoid injury.

  • Choose a well-ventilated area to prevent the build-up of gases

  • Label the area with signage and floor striping that outlines and separates the battery charging station area

  • Have emergency eyewash and shower stations near the charging area in case of acid splashes and exposures

  • Place the location near a spill kit with acid neutralisation materials and posted instructions and firefighting and/or suppression equipment

Get training in battery inspection, maintenance and recharging procedures. Battery inspection checkpoints include:

  • Proper fluid levels

  • Cables and are intact, insulated and connected

  • Contact posts are clean and do not show signs of crystallisation or corrosion

  • Cracks in the casing

Other general safety battery maintenance tips include:

  • Make sure the forklift is off with the emergency brake engaged before charging

  • Make sure the charger is OFF before connecting or disconnecting it from the battery

  • Add acid slowly to water. Never add water to acid solutions

  • Keep the battery vent caps securely in place so emitted gas is vented out of the forklift

  • Avoid open flames, arcs, and sparks near the forklift battery

  • Never smoke near the battery charging station

  • To avoid electric shock and burns, remove metal jewellery and keep metal objects away from the battery, including funnels and containers

Batteries provide power and counterweight to the forklift. They can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds so use best practice and precautions to prevent crushing accidents when moving, changing, and manoeuvring them and remember:

  • Move the battery only if you have a properly rated and rigged battery cart or forklift

  • Securely strap the battery into the moving equipment and the destination forklift

Charging a forklift battery is not a difficult procedure. However, it should be done with great care. Following safe work practices to properly charge and maintain forklift batteries can prolong the battery life and ensure there is always enough power to complete the job.

PRO-FILL

Fill batteries without ever having to remove the vent covers again. Avoid battery acid burns, ruined clothing and noxious fumes. Each Pro-Fill valve includes a built-in flame arrestor (inside the de-gas chamber) to prevent ignition of flammable battery cell gases as they leave the battery. Simply put, Pro-Fill is the safest way to water your batteries.

RELIABLE

When you fill your battery with a Pro-Fill watering system, you know that it’s filled to the correct level every time. A properly watered battery lasts longer and performs better. Overfilling a battery results in loss of acid, while charging with low electrolytes will result in permanent damage to the lead plates. Both will result in loss of capacity and life expectancy.

Call DWE Training Services 07769 553419 for expert advice on forklift battery maintenance

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