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What to consider when setting up a forklift battery charging station

by , 03 December 2013
Setting up a forklift battery charging station? If so, read on to find out what you need to consider so you can avoid being on the wrong side of the law.

You have to make certain considerations when setting up a forklift battery charging station.

One of the first things you have to look at is the manufacturer's requirements or recommendation for charging the vehicles' battery, says Nell Browne, a registered Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner.

Browne adds that 'you'll also need to comply with environmental regulations for workplaces, housekeeping regulations as well as hazardous chemical regulations.'

That's not all.

Keep these factors in mind when setting up a forklift battery charging station

When it comes to location and space requirements, be sure to consider the following factors:

#1: Make sure you locate the fork lift battery charging station close to the area where the vehicles are working. This will minimise 'down time' when the forklifts have to move from the work area to the battery charging area and back to work.

#2: Ensure the location has enough electrical service. Keep in mind that power distribution costs increase with the distance from the main power feed.

#3: You'll need plumbing for battery washing, filling and safety equipment such as eye wash stations.

#4: You'll also need a heating and cooling system to control the room's temperature. That's because excessive heat or cold will shorten a battery's life.

How big should your battery charging station be?

Browne explains that this'll depend on:

  • The number of vehicles and batteries you expect to service at one time;
  • The type and size of the lift trucks
  • Whether the trucks will need to turn around inside the room
  • The type and amount of battery handling and charging equipment you plan to use.

What about floor space?

When calculating floor space, 'try thinking in terms of 'the slot', says Browne.

This is the space required around the vehicle. The space must be enough for workers to move about and carry out tasks in a safe manner. It must also allow other forklifts to move in and out of the area at the same time.

Make sure there's enough ventilation to prevent gas build up. This'll depend on the number of batteries being charged and the size to the allocated area.

You must also ensure your forklift battery charging station is safe and free of hazards.

Ask yourself the following questions to eliminate hazards associated with battery charging stations for forklifts:

  • What's the weight of a battery? Does the battery need to be removed for charging or replacing?
  • Does the battery give off any gas? Lead acid batteries give of oxygen and hydrogen when being charged so there is the danger of explosion if the area is not well ventilated. This risk is escalated if the batteries are overcharged.
  • Does the battery contain corrosive chemicals like sulphuric acid that may be harmful if there is a leak?
  • Are there any environmental risks related to acid spills?

Well there you have it. Knowing what to consider when setting up a forklift battery charging station will help ensure you reduce hazards and comply with safety laws.

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