As a practical material handling solution, forklifts are essential items of machinery in many Australian workplaces. However, care must be taken when operating a forklift, when working in areas in which they operate, and when maintaining the forklift. This includes charging the forklift battery. Today we take a quick look at staying safe around forklifts with some simple tips and a focus on forklift battery charging safety.
General Forklift Safety
When correctly maintained and operated in line with workplace health and safety guidelines, forklifts are safe machines to operate and work with. While accidents do happen, including fatal workplace accidents, most are caused by failing to follow OHS guidelines. Here are a few simple tips to reduce the likelihood of an accident.
Qualified operators only
To operate a forklift in Australia an operator must be qualified, which means they’ve completed the TLILIC2001 course. When a non-licensed driver operates a forklift, your business is at risk of serious fines and if an accident occurs there could be serious legal trouble ahead, including personal injury and workers comp claims.
Routine and scheduled checks
Forklift operators should give the machine a routine daily check to identify any faults or damage. Things to check include the tyre pressure, brakes, steering, mast and controls, all of which can be done in a minute or two before picking up a load. If any damage is identified, the forklift should not be operated until it’s repaired.
Safe and conscious operation
Most forklift accidents occur due to negligence and failing to follow OHS guidelines. Your forklift must be operated by a licensed operator, in an environment with clear visibility, at safe speeds, and in line with worksite and OHS rules. This involves keeping safe distances from workers, objects and other vehicles, allowing adequate stopping space, ensuring loads are stable and secure, and keeping people and objects clear of the mast.
Forklift Battery Safety
Following WHS guidelines is just as important when charging a forklift as it is when operating one in the workplace. Battery-powered forklifts are increasingly popular in Australian workplaces and whether a single machine or a fleet is employed, businesses need to create a dedicated space to recharge batteries when required.
Create a dedicated battery charging space
To provide a safe environment businesses need to create a battery charging space, ideally a room separated from other areas. Only licenced staff members should be allowed to access the space and charge the forklift batteries.
Acid-resistant flooring materials
Battery acid is highly corrosive and can cause structural damage if a major spill occurred. While unlikely, flooring in battery charging areas must be acid-resistant.
Natural and artificial ventilation
Hydrogen gas is released while charging forklift batteries which means ventilation is required to provide a safe working environment. Ideally a combination of natural and artificial (exhaust fans, vents, ducts, etc.) ventilation would be implemented.
Access to safety equipment
The correct personal protection equipment should be used when charging forklift batteries and safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, an eyewash station and acid-neutralising agents, should be immediately accessible.
Ceil Power Systems are Australia’s forklift battery experts. Call us on 1300 877 531 or contact us online to discuss your needs with one of our forklift battery and charging specialists. We operate locations in NSW, QLD, VIC and WA.