Your forklift battery is a vital and costly part of your electric forklift; without it, you aren't doing anything. Taking proper care of your forklift battery will help you to protect that investment by extending its lifespan. If you are using and operating electric forklifts on a daily basis, then you should know and understand all that you can about their proper care and handling. To learn more about proper battery care and handling, sign up today for Wayco’s Battery Training Program. For any other forklift questions about service, or purchasing new or used forklifts, contact the experts at Wayco.
Forklift Battery Safety Is Important
A forklift battery is extremely heavy - about the weight of a car or mini van. Therefore, they can be dangerous if not handled correctly. According to the Canadian Safety Association, your employees must be trained to safely handle and move batteries using the proper equipment. The following is a breakdown of how to safely handle and charge a forklift battery. Practical hands-on training is important to learn how to do it right.
How to Properly Handle a Forklift Battery
Always Use Specially Designed Equipment to Move Your Battery: Forklift batteries are extremely heavy, so you should never try to move them yourself. You should always use special equipment such as a walkie pallet jack that has been equipped with a transfer carriage to move a battery.
Always use special equipment such as a walkie pallet jack to move your forklift battery
Set Up an Eye and Hand Washing Station: Batteries contain hazardous liquid, such as sulfuric acid in lead-acid batteries, so you don't want this liquid to come into contact with your hands or eyes. If contact does occur, your facility should have an eye and hand washing station located close to where you will be handling and recharging your forklift batteries so that it can be removed as soon as possible.
Wear Protective Clothing: It is important to wear chemical-resistant protective gear, including gloves and glasses, when you are handling a forklift battery. These will help prevent any hazardous liquids from the battery getting onto your hands or in your eyes.
Wear Steel Toe Shoes or Boots: Because of the extreme weight of the forklift batteries, make sure that you protect yourself by wearing steel toe footwear when handling them.
Don't Wear Metallic Jewelry: Take off any metallic jewelry that you are wearing when you are handling or charging a forklift battery. Even if they are disconnected, a battery can be an electrical hazard, so you don't want to be wearing any conductive materials.
You should wear protective equipment such as safety
goggles when handling a forklift battery
How to Properly Charge a Forklift Battery
Set Up a Battery Charging Area: It is a good idea to set up a special area in your warehouse or facility for battery charging.
Charge Your Lead Acid Batteries When They Are at 80% Discharge: The optimum time to charge your forklift battery is when it has discharged 80%, or in other words, when it only has 20% of a charge left.
If you charge it before this time, you may reduce your batteries lift depending on the type of battery. If you allow your battery to discharge more than 80%, you can also do damage to it.
Rinse off a Battery the Has Overflown: If your battery has an overflow, then you should rinse it off to help prevent it from corroding.
Don't Overcharge Your Battery: Overcharging can decrease the life of your battery. Some batteries are designed with systems that prevent them from being overcharged. If yours doesn't have this, then you need to be careful not to overcharge it.
Once your forklift battery is at 80% discharge, you
should charge it again
Make Sure Your Charger Is Compatible with Your Battery: You need to make sure that the charger you are using matches the voltage and amperage of your battery. To help prevent connecting your battery to the wrong charger, it is a good idea to colour code your connectors and clearly mark your chargers so that it is clear which connectors go where. Getting proper training on how to safely charge your batteries will keep you safe and will also protect your batteries.
Turn Off the Charger before Connecting and Disconnecting: Make sure that your battery charger is turned off before you connect your battery to it. You also need to turn it off before you try disconnecting your battery.
Charge Your Battery in the Proper Temperature: If you charge your forklift batteries in extreme heat or cold, it can cause reduced service life. You should contact your battery manufacturer to find out their recommended charging temperature, as this varies among different types of batteries.
Use only pure or distilled water to fill up your forklift battery
Add Water if Needed after Charging: Never add water to a wet-cell battery before you charge it. After the charging is complete, add pure or distilled water to bring the electrolytes to the right level.
Note: Most industrial batteries will last for about 1,500 charging cycles. If you notice that the battery won't charge fully the way it used to, then it probably has reached its limit.
Get the Forklift Battery Training You Need
Wayco's Comprehensive Battery Training Program will give your operators the hands-on practical experience and comprehensive theoretical testing required to safely care for and handle forklift batteries. Our course includes:
An introduction to the battery
Daily maintenance practices
Battery transfer procedures
Battery charging and equalizing charge
How to use a hydrometer
Emergency procedure in case of an acid spill
Our program has been used in many warehouse and manufacturing facilities across Ontario and has been key in lowering the injury rates to employees and damages to equipment.
“Exceptional quality and service. Left the training class with more than I expected. Looking forward to being a repeat customer. “ - Kevin Brown
Wayco Battery Care Program
Wayco also offers a forklift battery care program. We will inspect your equipment batteries and chargers monthly, quarterly, and semi-annually to make sure that charging is being done correctly and on a routine basis.