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5 Pieces of Essential Safety Equipment for Battery Charging Areas

While forklift batteries present some challenges, they are extremely safe when paired with appropriate safety equipment and well-trained personnel. In fact, with some planning, the process of changing and charging lift truck batteries can be as safe as filling a car’s gas tank. Battery room hazards are usually related to four specific issues: the great weight of the batteries, the corrosive electrolyte in flooded lead/acid cells, electrical current at terminals and within cells, and the potentially explosive gasses generated by the charging process. Each of these hazards can be easily controlled — and danger can be mitigated — with appropriate safety gear and equipment. By ensuring easy access to a few crucial pieces of safety equipment, battery room managers can…more

Using Signs and Labels to Improve Battery Room Safety

Safety is the most important factor in every battery room, and many of the potential hazards of battery change-outs can be mitigated with a decidedly low-tech solution: signage. Clear, discernable signs can prevent workplace accidents by pointing out hazardous areas and marking vital safety equipment for quick access. It’s important to note that battery rooms are extremely safe when properly designed and outfitted; notwithstanding that, managers need to take appropriate actions to prevent accidents and to keep personnel informed. To understand the role of signage in the accident-free battery room, it’s helpful to start by considering some of the general principles of workplace safety. The authors of the first chapter of Warnings and Risk Communication (1999) advocate three hierarchical lines…more

TVA Offers Incentives for Diesel Lift Truck Fleet Conversion

If you’ve been thinking about converting your lift truck fleet from diesel to electric, there’s never been a better time. Few projects offer a better long-term return on investment, and forklift fleet conversion is a relatively simple process. The Tennessee Valley Authority recently announced a program incentivizing diesel-to-electric lift truck conversion, providing hundreds of businesses in the region with an excellent new resource. This isn’t the only program of its kind in the United States, but it’s easily one of the most substantial, and many businesses will use the incentive to justify a full-scale fleet conversion. Electric forklifts are smaller, quieter, more environmentally friendly, and generally more maneuverable than their gas-powered counterparts. They’re also easier on operators, and ergonomic designs…more

OSHA Standards in the Battery Room — Part Four: Construction Industry Standards

Comparing Battery Handling Regulations for General Industry and Construction In the previous two posts, we provided a basic introduction to OSHA regulations for battery rooms in general industries. This post will examine OSHA standard 1926.441, which addresses batteries and battery charging in the construction industry. The relationship between the battery handling regulations in standards 1910 and 1926 is complex. In some places the two standards overlap, and in others they address completely different issues. Most of the standards from OSHA 1910.178(g) also apply to battery handling in the construction industry, but the reverse is not necessarily true for all applications. Because the two sets of regulations interact in unique ways in different applications, only an OSHA compliance officer or a…more

OSHA Standards in the Battery Room — Part Three: The Rest of OSHA 1910

OSHA’s Rules on Safety Equipment in Battery Changing Areas In our previous post, we discussed the OSHA standards that refer specifically to changing and charging batteries for powered industrial trucks: 29 CFR 1910.178(g). While this code forms the core of the OSHA requirements for battery handling, safety regulations from other parts of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards for general industry also have an important place in your battery room. Most of these regulations are concerned with safety equipment. The location of essential protective devices such as fire extinguishers, first aid stations, and eyewash stations are vital to worker safety, and in many cases, they are also regulated by law. Of course, electric forklift batteries are extremely safe when properly…more

OSHA Standards in the Battery Room — Part Two: OSHA 1910.178(g)

Interpreting OSHA General Industry Regulations for Safe Battery Handling Regulations are a big part of running your facility, and regardless of your industry, OSHA guidelines are especially important. In this blog, we’ll take a look at these detailed (and occasionally confusing) guidelines and try to provide a general overview. Remember, if you need to ensure compliance, you may need to consult with OSHA officials or hire a qualified expert. See our first blog for information regarding the different OSHA industry-specific standards. OSHA standard number 1910.178, subsection G, establishes guidelines for updating battery handling equipment, planning a battery room, and establishing appropriate battery changing procedures. It consists of 11 entries, and if your operation uses lift trucks in any capacity, these…more

OSHA Standards in the Battery Room — Part One: Introduction to OSHA Regulations

Are you using lift trucks safely? Warehousing operations in the United States are legally bound to protect workers from unsafe conditions, as defined by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). While OSHA standards dictate workplace safety practices in all aspects of the warehousing industry, few areas are more impacted by these safety regulations than the battery room. Oversights in the battery room can easily lead to worker injuries — not to mention property damage — and every dollar spent on safety is a wise investment. This series of posts will provide a quick introduction to OSHA standards that apply to forklift batteries and battery handling equipment. In part one, we’ll introduce the standards and interpretations that allow for full…more

Protecting Against Battery Spills for a More Eco-Friendly Facility

Rechargeable forklift batteries are the greenest source of motive power available. Electric forklifts produce far fewer greenhouse gasses than lift trucks powered by internal combustion, and they eliminate the need for engine fluid changes. Most importantly, they’re safer for workers and almost entirely recyclable — in fact, most of the lead used in forklift batteries is recycled. Still, the amount of electrolyte required to provide clean power to your fleets can become an ecological risk when handled improperly. While lead acid batteries are a safe power source, battery spills require immediate attention, and it’s important to limit risks with appropriate preventative measures. A few simple precautions can help to prevent disaster so that your operation can enjoy the benefits of…more

Understanding LEED Certification and Forklift Battery Rooms

With the introduction of 2013’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Version 4 (LEED v4), it is less complex than ever for U.S. warehouses and distribution centers to obtain certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certification provides numerous operational benefits, including lower energy costs and eligibility for governmental incentive programs. Measures of sustainability such as LEED certification are also a priority for clients. A 2013 study from HEC Paris, a French business school, reports that 93 percent of surveyed companies consider sustainable procurement to be “critical,” or at least “important.” Ninety-one percent of the multinational companies surveyed weigh social responsibility when choosing their logistics suppliers. Existing facilities can acquire certification through the LEED v4 Building Operations and Maintenance…more

Going Green in the Lift Truck Battery Room

The first Earth Day was celebrated 45 years ago. In honor of this global environmental movement, BHS is focusing our April blogging on going green in the lift truck battery room. Our blogs touch on reducing energy consumption, recycling wastewater, preventing acid spills, LEED certification, and more. The blogs will also point you toward various BHS products that can help your facility level-up environmental friendliness. Check out our latest video, “Going Green in the Lift Truck Battery Room” for an overview of this month’s blog topics.