Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Types & Fundamentals Part 10: Power Sources

Electric-powered forklifts are most commonly used indoors in warehouses. Unlike internal combustion forklifts, electric forklifts are quiet and generally non-polluting but present other serious hazards that must be addressed.
  • Electric Forklifts
  • Battery Charging Area
  • Battery Charging and Changing Procedures
  • Battery Maintenance
  • Sulfuric Acid Splash
  • Hydrogen Gas
For information on the parts of a battery used in electric forklifts, see the Parts: Battery section of this module.
Battery Charging Area
A properly equipped battery charging area will have:
Large installations should have a plumbed drench shower and an eyewash.
Figure 2. Large installations should have a plumbed drench shower and an eyewash.
  • No smoking.
     
  • Warning signs posted.
     
  • Adequate fire protection.
     
  • Ample and readily available water supply for flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte.
     
  • An eyewash able to provide a 15 minute flow. (Figure 2) Note: For large installations, there should be a plumbed drench shower and an eyewash.

  • A phone or other means of communication in the event of an emergency.
     
  • Adequate ventilation to avoid the build up of hydrogen gas during battery charging.
     
  • Soda ash or other neutralization materials in the immediate area.
     
  • A dry chemical, CO2 or foam fire extinguisher.
     
  • Means to protect charging apparatus from damage from trucks.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Types & Fundamentals Part 9: Power Sources

Electric-powered forklifts are most commonly used indoors in warehouses. Unlike internal combustion forklifts, electric forklifts are quiet and generally non-polluting but present other serious hazards that must be addressed.
  • Electric Forklifts
  • Battery Charging Area
  • Battery Charging and Changing Procedures
  • Battery Maintenance
  • Sulfuric Acid Splash
  • Hydrogen Gas
Electric Forklifts
Electric forklifts produce zero emissions, virtually eliminate the hazard of carbon monoxide poisoning, and run more quietly than internal combustion forklifts. However, electric forklifts present other serious hazards that must be addressed.
Potential Hazards:
  • Electric forklifts are powered by large lead-acid batteries, which must be routinely charged. The hazards and recommended practices for charging and changing batteries are reviewed below.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Designate an area for the purpose of battery charging.
     
  • Make sure that the forklift is charged before using.
     
  • Recognize that heavy loads drain the battery more quickly.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Types & Fundamentals Part 8: Power Sources III

Refueling: Liquid Petroleum Gas
Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is a commonly used fuel for forklifts. It is a safe fuel when handled properly. When handled improperly, it can cause serious injury or death.

Potential Hazards
  • LPG vapor is heavier than air and will seek the lowest lying area. If not adequately dissipated, it will collect in pockets and possibly ignite when exposed to a heat source.
     
  • LPG is extremely flammable.
     
  • LPG is extremely cold when exposed to the atmosphere. If your skin is exposed to LPG, you can get frostbite.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
 
  • Do not refuel LPG-powered trucks in confined areas where LPG vapors could collect if a leak occurs.
     
  • Do not leave LPG-powered trucks near heat sources, stairways, exits, or other egress areas.
     
  • When parking LPG-powered trucks for a long period of time, turn the service valve off.
     
  • Only trained and authorized personnel should replace LPG containers.
     
  • Follow proper procedures for storing and handling liquid petroleum gas. [29 CFR 1910.110]