Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Types & Fundamentals Part 12: Power Sources

Battery Maintenance
Under normal operating conditions, power industrial truck forklift batteries can be expected to remain in service for 2,000 work shifts or charge/discharge cycles. Implementing a proper battery maintenance program can increase the life of the batteries and help protect employees. Battery failure could lead to mechanical breakdowns and possible accidents involving forklift operators and/or other personnel.
Discharging a battery beyond the manufacturer's recommended discharge level over works the battery making recharging more difficult and may damage or ruin the battery.
Figure 8. Discharging a battery beyond the manufacturer's recommended discharge level over works the battery making recharging more difficult and may damage or ruin the battery.
  • Do not continue a battery in service merely because it continues to deliver power.
     
  • Do not exceed the service hours in the manufacturer's recommendations.
     
  • Do not over charge or under charge batteries.
     
  • Avoid discharging batteries beyond the manufacturer’s discharge level. This can result in permanent battery damage and shorten battery life considerably.
     
  • Warning signs of a low battery include slow starting, dim headlights, and the ammeter indicating discharge at high RPM.
  • Recycle or properly dispose of batteries. Spent batteries are a hazardous waste unless they are properly reclaimed at a lead smelter or battery recycler.




Sulfuric Acid Splash
Water is added at the end of the charge by operator wearing PPE.
Figure 9. Water is added at the end of the charge by operator wearing PPE.
Battery acid is dilute sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is a clear, colorless liquid with an acrid smell. It is corrosive and can cause severe burns.

Potential Hazards:
  • Acid splash, especially to the eyes.  
  • Acid spill.  
  • Corrosive burns.
Requirements and Recommended Practice:
  • Wear personal protective equipment:
    • Wear chemical splash goggles or full face shield with safety glasses equipped with side shields.
    • Wear acid-proof gloves made of rubber or neoprene.
    • Wear acid-resistant clothing or rubber or neoprene apron.
    • Wear acid-resistant safety shoes or boots.
  • Employees who wear contact lenses should wear chemical splash goggles during battery charging. In the event of an acid splash to the eyes, the contact lens could hold the acid to the eye, making it more difficult to flush the acid away and causing more serious damage to the eye.
Acid splash.
Figure 10. Acid splash.
Emergency Procedure in the Event of an Acid Splash

These are sample procedures. Your facility may have its own safety procedure, requiring employees to contact their supervisors or medical personnel either on-site or off-site. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet for additional information.

If the acid splash is to the eyes:
  1. Remove safety glasses and flush eyes with clean water in eyewash for 15 minutes.  
  2. Seek medical attention immediately.  
  3. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid splash is to the skin:
  1. Remove acid soaked clothing immediately.  
  2. Flush acid contacted skin with clean water for 15 minutes.  
  3. Seek medical attention immediately if redness or burns occur.  
  4. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid is swallowed and the victim is conscious:
  1. Remove victim from battery area and provide fresh air.  
  2. Wash out mouth with large amounts of water.  
  3. Give victim milk to drink.  
  4. Do not try to induce vomiting.  
  5. Monitor victim's breathing and condition. Start CPR if victim stops breathing.  
  6. Use NIOSH approved acid mist respirator, if OSHA PEL ( 1.0 mg/m3) is exceeded or if respiratory irritation occurs.  
  7. Seek immediate medical attention.  
  8. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid is swallowed and the victim is unconscious:
  1. Remove victim immediately from battery area and provide fresh air.  
  2. Start CPR if victim stops breathing.  
  3. Provide oxygen, if properly trained personnel are available.  
  4. Seek immediate medical attention.  
  5. Report the incident to your supervisor.
Sulfuric acid spill.
Figure 11. Sulfuric acid spill.
Sulfuric Acid Spill (In the event of battery breakage)
  1. Neutralize the spill with soda ash or baking soda. Use 1 pound of baking soda to 1 gallon of water.  
  2. The acid reaction is complete when it stops fizzing. Make certain that the acid is neutralized by checking the pH is neutral between 6 and 8.  
  3. Absorb neutralized material onto clay or other absorbent material, if necessary. If the spill is very large, contain the spill with earth or clay dikes.  
  4. Brush under the battery connectors and remove all grime. Rinse the residue from the battery with clean water with a hose.  
  5. Report the incident to your supervisor.  
  6. Determine proper disposal by contacting local environmental authorities.

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