OSHA expectations are important to comply with when it comes to forklift battery changing, charging and watering.
- Drop Risks
- Pinch Points
- Safety PPE
- Electrical Shock Risks
- Hydrogen Gas Exposure
- Acid Exposure
- Fire Hazards
- Acid Spills
Safety and Health
Safety Made Easy
OSHA outlines forklift battery changing and charging in their general codes 1910 and 1926. See below for direct links to OSHA regulations and products that IBP has readily available for making compliance easy.
Forklift batteries are very heavy and can cause serious injuries if the proper equipment is not used when handling them. 29 CFR 1910.178(g)(4) requires the use of a battery lifting beam, or other designated battery handling equipment, that will lift or move the battery without demanding awkward movements from workers. OSHA does not allow the use of a chain and hooks as the inconsistent forces may cause internal damage to the battery.
OSHA mandates the removing of any metal jewelry when charging batteries and to make sure that any metallic tools are kept away from exposed battery terminals. 29 CFR 1910.178(g)(11-12) calls out the expectation to keep all sparks and/or open flames away from the designated charging area.
OSHA requires a mix of safety equipment in all designated battery charging areas. A proper fire extinguisher, phone, 15 minute flow Eyewash Station, and acid Neutralization Materials need to be provided and easily accessible in the forklift battery charging area. Vaping and smoking should not be allowed and supporting signage must be made visible. 29 CFR 1910.305(j)(7) requires adequate ventilation in storage areas to disperse flammable Hydrogen Gas.
In addition to this, OSHA requires that forklift battery chargers be protected from any lift truck traffic and damage. Safety Rails and Bollards are easy additions to comply with these safety regulations.
To avoid acid spillovers, workers should add Deionized water only after completely charging batteries and water is observed to be needed. Using a Battery Watering System that includes auto shutoff is the safest practice to make certain all cells in a forklift battery are accurately filled. 29 CFR 1926.441, indicates that individuals watering batteries should wear acid-resistant boots, aprons, gloves, and goggles when adding water to batteries to mitigate their exposure to any battery acid.