Today we look at five essential battery room accessories that are often an afterthought or even overlooked altogether:
Conventional ‘flooded’ lead acid forklift batteries contain sulphuric acid. Although in a semi-dilute state, sulphuric acid is still corrosive. When protecting your staff and assets, there are simple and modestly priced products that you should consider purchasing:
- Acid-resistant floor paint
- Emergency shower & Eyewash
- Hydrogen gas detector
- Acid spill kit
- Safety training
Acid-resistant floor paint
Acid Resistant Floor Coating is a high-build epoxy coating designed to have excellent resistance against aggressive acids, chemicals, solvents, and alcohols. The coating provides a tough and durable industrial finish that will withstand heavy use with ease.
Applying a good quality acid-resistant floor covering will protect the concrete floor against accidental acid spills in the battery room.
Emergency Shower & Eyewash
Emergency showers and eyewash stations provide on-the-spot decontamination. They allow workers to flush away hazardous substances such as sulphuric acid that can cause irreversible injuries. Accidental chemical exposures can still occur even with good engineering controls and safety precautions.
The use of emergency showers or eyewash stations should be immediate if your skin gets exposed to a hazardous chemical. The first few seconds after exposure to a hazardous chemical (especially a corrosive chemical) are critical. Delaying treatment even for a few seconds may result in irreparable tissue damage.
Hydrogen gas detector
As lead acid batteries create small amounts of hydrogen as a by-product of their charging cycle, it is critical to monitor the area using a hydrogen gas detector.
Since hydrogen is colourless, odourless, and the lightest of all gases, it rises. Therefore, the detector should be installed at the highest, draft-free location in the battery compartment or rooms where hydrogen gas would accumulate. The device will emit an audible alarm before hydrogen levels reach a dangerous level.
Acid Spill Kit
Even with the best practices in battery room management, accidents can occur, and batteries can tip over and cause an acid leak. If such an event should happen, it is essential to act promptly to try to contain the spillage and cordon off the contaminated area.
Acid spill kits generally contain spill pads, absorbent socks, spill cushions, acid neutralizer, a chemical splash suit, neoprene gloves, a pair of goggles, a roll of caution tape, and bags and ties for easy disposal of used products.
It is also vital to have enough staff trained in the safe use of the Acid Spill Kit.
It should now be evident that the battery room can be a hazardous environment, and thorough safety training of all personnel who work (or could attend an incident) in the battery room is crucial. This includes the correct use of all PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) as well as being trained in everyday activities such as battery changing, cleaning and topping-up. Your staff needs to know what to do in the event of an incident.
Your battery room should have appropriate signage indicating the whereabouts of the Hydrogen Gas Detector, Emergency Shower & Eyewash Station, and Battery Spill Kits. There should be instructions in the location explaining the correct use of the equipment and company procedures.
All staff should receive full training in battery room procedures when they start in that position and regular update training during their career.