Battery room operators spend a lot of time researching the best ways to prolong the lives of forklift batteries. That’s a worthwhile goal, but don’t let it overshadow that other huge investment sitting in the battery room — the battery chargers themselves.
OSHA regulations require protection for battery chargers, and there are significant operational costs associated with charger damage. Just a few years ago, a facility that ran 100 batteries probably spent around $50,000 in chargers. That price has only increased since 2010, when trade journal DC Velocity printed the estimate.
Productivity depends on well-protected battery chargers, and safety starts at installation. Follow these storage tips to make sure that your chargers provide reliable service for as long as possible:
Store Battery Chargers on Stands Designed for the Purpose.
Battery rooms can be rough on equipment; traditional shelving isn’t designed to withstand electrolyte leaks or the weight of a forklift battery charger, let alone the occasional forklift strike. BHS Charger Stands can be customized to support specific needs, and their heavy duty construction provides dependable service in any environment.
For larger battery collections, BHS Multi-tier Charger Stands utilize vertical space without compromising reliability. Another option for side-extraction fleets is to incorporate charger shelves into battery System Stands, limiting the total storage footprint to a single compact area.
Route Cables Safely.
Cabling is the most vulnerable component of a battery charger. Charging cables sit outside of the shielded compartment, and they’re moved frequently, risking kinks and pinches the whole way. If your chargers aren’t delivering even charges, there’s a chance that the problem lies between the charger and the battery.
Prevent damage to cables by developing a strong cable management strategy. Install a Cable Retractor to keep battery cables unkinked and stored out of the paths of lift trucks. BHS Charger Stands come pre-drilled for a Cable Retractor, so installation won’t take much time.
To further personalize cable management, use Magnetic Cable Mounts to route battery cables along any path. They magnetically attach to charger stands, battery stands, or any ferrous metal surface. This makes cables easy to reposition as your routing strategy develops.
Follow Charger Mounting Protocols.
Choosing the right stands is a great start, but in order to take advantage of the benefits, chargers must be firmly mounted in place. Be sure to attach all four corners (BHS Charger Stands make this task easy with pre-cut anchoring slots), and use a stand that’s designed specifically for the type of charger you use: vertical, wall-mount, or conventional.
Prevent Forklift Strikes With Structural Barriers.
OSHA-compliant training for forklift operators goes a long way toward preventing forklift strikes, but accidents can still happen. Eliminate the possibility of a collision by surrounding charger storage areas with BHS Structural Barrier Rails.
These heavy duty guardrails can withstand impact forces up to 10,000 pounds at a speed of 4 mph, and they’re designed to expand as your collection grows. Durable Structural Bollards at corners prevent the all-too-common scenario in which a forklift turns into charger stands. Some combination of structural barriers is essential to keeping your charger collection safe.
These strategies safeguard significant battery room investments and aid in compliance with two important OSHA regulations. 29 CFR 1910.178(g)(2) requires facilities to “be provided. . . for protecting charging apparatus from damage by trucks.” Echoing this language, 29 CFR 1926.441(b)(2) states that “Charging apparatus shall be protected from damage by trucks.”
With a solid plan and durable equipment built specifically for supporting forklift battery chargers, your forklift chargers will provide years of reliable service — without a lot of costly repairs.
“Batteries and Battery Charging – 1926.441.” Occupational Safety & Health Administration. United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Gooley, Toby. “Battery Changing Room ‘Dos and Don’ts.’” DCVelocity. Agile Business Media, 13 Jul. 2010. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
“Powered Industrial Trucks – 1910.178.” Occupational Safety & Health Administration. United States Department of Labor, 2006. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.