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Lithium batteries for forklifts

Understanding Forklift Battery Safety At Workplace

Mar 07, 2024

Category: #LithiumBattery #ForkliftBattery #Gauteng #CapeTown #Durban #SouthAfrica

Prioritizing forklift battery safety in industrial settings is of utmost importance, and compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines is non-negotiable for ensuring a secure workplace environment. OSHA Severe Injury Reports since January 1 2015, demonstrate the significance of proper battery handling: as of August 2021, these reports had documented 60,912 entries, with only 0.8% (52 incidents) being caused by handling batteries for electric forklifts , pallet jacks or electric vehicle batteries. OSHA statistics reveal that most battery-related incidents occur when moving or watering batteries - dispelling any illusion that lead-acid charging rooms offer complete protection in warehouse environments.

As part of any investigation into these incidents, workers must recognize they experienced serious injuries when performing processes like battery replacement, relocation and maintenance.

Workers experienced fractures, compressions and acid burns, which highlighted risks related to traditional lead-acid batteries, such as their weight, dimensions and chemical hazards. Materials handling operations using one battery per lift truck may find switching to lithium batteries more cost-effective and reduce safety risks by avoiding frequent battery switching and maintenance associated with lead acid batteries.

This change would eliminate frequent switching costs and the maintenance requirements associated with lead-acid batteries.

Lithium batteries do not appear on OSHA injury logs for one simple reason - their quality products abide by stringent safety protocols that would help prevent incidents from showing up as OSHA incidents. Furthermore, these reputable batteries follow Underwriters Laboratories guidelines, guaranteeing exceptional safety practices.

Certification by Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) plays a crucial role in assuring lithium-ion battery safety:

  • UL 2580, a standard for assessing batteries for electric vehicles, focuses on the safety of the energy storage assembly under simulated abuse conditions, ensuring no harm. The standard includes a set of mechanical and electrical tests, for instance, overcharge, short-circuit, and thermal-stability tests.
  • UL 991 assesses safety-related control systems containing solid-state devices such as the Battery Management System (BMS). Such tests complement battery standards, focusing on the electronic aspects of battery controls to prevent electric shock, fire, or injury hazards.

Such rigorous tests confirm the safety of lithium batteries. Lithium forklift batteries make a "single-battery" operational model possible, thus eliminating the need for frequent battery swapping and other hazards associated with lead-acid batteries.

Bottom Line

Lithium batteries have quickly emerged as an industry game-changer within forklift manufacturing, gradually replacing lead-acid with more reliable and safe lithium options. Lithium will account for half of industrial battery sales by 2032 due to significant investments made into cell production and recycling infrastructure combined with reduced raw material costs.

Businesses prioritizing safety and efficiency see switching over to lithium forklift batteries as a transformative move towards an assured and technologically advanced future.