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General Points:Batteries are very heavy. Respect their weight when you have to move them.Properly size the battery to the truck battery compartment. There should be no more than 3/8 inch clearance on all sides. Otherwise, the battery may shift and throw off the balance of the truck.Make sure the battery weight complies with the counter balance rating of the truck. If it does not, the truck will not be balanced properly and the rated load capacity of the truck is no longer valid.When lifting a motive power battery, always use a lifting beam. Using a chain with two hooks can stress the battery tray and cause distortion and internal damage.When lifting a motive power battery with a metal lifting device, be careful not to let the lifting device come in contact with the battery terminals. Temporarily place a non-conductive material over the top of the battery while lifting so that contact cannot be made.
Working Around Motive Power Batteries
Only properly trained personnel should be involved with the maintenance of the batteries and thehandling of battery acid.
A properly equipped battery changing area will have:An eyewash station able to provide (15) minute flow. For large installations, a plumbed drench shower and eyewash should be provided.A phone or other means of communication in the immediate area for use in the event of anemergency.Adequate ventilation to avoid the build up of hydrogen gas during battery charging. (This is dependent on the location and size of the battery charging area. However, a guideline forminimum protection is two to three air changes per hour.)Soda ash or other neutralization materials immediately available.A dry chemical, CO2 or foam fire extinguisher in the immediate area
There are (3) primary hazards associated with lead-acid motive power batteries. They are:The battery acidHydrogen gas generation during chargingElectrical hazard
Battery AcidBattery acid is dilute sulfuric acid. It is corrosive and it can cause severe burns. When handlingbattery acid and watering the battery always:Wear chemical splash goggles or full face shield with safety glasses equipped with side shields.Wear acid-proof gloves (rubber or neoprene).Wear acid-resistant clothing or plastic apron.Wear acid-resistant safety shoes or boots.
Employees working around battery acid should NOT wear contact lenses. In the event of an acidsplash to the eyes, the acid could be held against the eye by the lenses. This will make it harder toflush the acid away – causing more serious damage to the eye.
Hydrogen Gas Generation During ChargingAlways assume there is flammable hydrogen gas present in a battery charging area. Hydrogen gas ispotentially explosive if it is allowed to accumulate in a closed area. Observe the following:No smoking.Use non-sparking tools and prevent open flames, sparks or electrical arcs in battery areas.Adequate ventilation must be provided for dispersal of fumes and gases from the batteries when they are on charge.When charging, open the battery cover so the hydrogen gas can vent better. This is particularly important in confined areas.
Electrical HazardsEven when disconnected from the forklift, batteries present an electrical hazard:Do not wear conductive metal jewelry when working around batteries.Do not put metal articles or tools on top of the batteries. Be careful not to place anything on the battery.Do not use the battery connector as a circuit breaker. Always shut the charger off when connecting or disconnecting the battery. An arc or spark could cause an explosion.Do use only non-sparking, non-conductive tools.Do keep the vent plugs in place at all times except when adding water to the cells or taking hydrometer readings.Do check the battery cables and cable connectors regularly. If the insulation is worn or connector contacts are pitted, have the truck removed from service and make repairs immediately.
Motive Power Battery Cleaning
Keeping the top of the battery clean is a safety issue. A heavy build-up of corrosion can allowelectrical shorts or arcing to occur, which could cause the battery to explode.
Safety EquipmentWear acid-resistant gloves and apron (rubber or neoprene)Wear chemical splash goggles or full face shield with safety glasses with side shieldsWear acid-resistant clothing such as a rubber or plastic apronWear acid-resistant safety shoes or boots.
Cleaning ProcedureFrequency – when you see corrosion by products around the battery terminalsMix a solution of one pound baking soda to one gallon of water.With the vent plugs in place, brush the solution around on the top of the battery until the fizzing stops.Make sure to brush the outside cells and the rim of the metal battery tray.Carefully rinse the top of the battery with clean water and dry.Inspect the black sealing compound where the cells are against the steel tray. If the sealing compound appears to be cracked, repair it or have it repaired.
Emergency Procedure in the Event of Acid Splash on Personnel
SkinRemove acid-soaked clothing immediately.Flush acid contact area thoroughly with clean water for at least five minutes.If redness or burns occur, seek medical help.
EyesRemove safety eye wear and immediately flush with low pressure clean water for 15 minutes.Seek medical attention immediately.
IF ACID IS SWALLOWED, CALL FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IMMEDIATELY.
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Spill response:Neutralize the spill with soda ash or baking soda to a pH of six to nine. The acid reaction is complete when the soda ash or baking soda stops fizzing. Verify the acid is neutralized by checking the pH.Contact your local environmental authorities to determine proper disposal protocol for your site.The neutralized material can be absorbed onto clay or some other absorbent material if necessary.
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