Forklifts are essential equipment for many different facilities, but like any piece of heavy machinery, owners and operators must enforce careful precautions to ensure the safety of those using and working around them.
While there are a variety of forklift types available on the market today, electric-powered forklifts are favored for their quiet operation and their low impact on the environment, especially when compared to internal combustion forklifts.
Electric forklifts provide a number of benefits, but they do carry some safety concerns regarding the large, lead-acid battery that powers them. As such, OSHA recommends that any facility using an electric forklift installs a dedicated forklift battery charging station.
Forklift Battery Charging Station Requirements
OSHA recommends forklift battery charging stations meet a few key requirements to ensure that those operating or working near electric forklifts are kept safe. Those recommendations for a safe forklift battery charging station are as follows:
Designate a specific area of your facility for forklift battery charging.
First and foremost, OSHA recommends that any facility using electric forklifts create a designated area for forklift battery charging. This space should be sectioned off from the rest of the facility, and it is recommended that this area be monitored to ensure that only trained and authorized personnel have access to this forklift battery charging station.
Your forklift battery charging station should employ proper fire protection.
Electric forklift batteries can give off highly explosive hydrogen fumes towards the end of the battery charging process. For this reason, OSHA recommends that the forklift battery charging station include adequate fire protection — in the form of proper ventilation, construction, and fire-rated building materials — to keep employees safe in the event of an accident.
An eyewash and emergency body wash station.
Electric forklift batteries present a burn hazard. Because they contain sulfuric acid, which is highly corrosive, OSHA recommends that your forklift battery charging station include an eyewash station, to protect employees in the event of a splash. To accommodate an eyewash station, it’s a good idea to look for upgraded FRP and HDPE wall surfaces that can stand up to the water.
A lifting beam that can ensure safe transportation of batteries.
Electric forklift batteries are heavy. In most cases, they are too heavy for one employee to safely lift alone, which is why OSHA recommends a lifting beam or equivalent to help move the battery in and out of the charging port. Before you build a forklift battery charging station in your facility, make sure you’ve consulted with a contractor or building expert who can either build around a lifting beam or who can make accommodations to ensure you can safely install the lifting mechanism after construction.
How Panelized Wall Systems Can Provide the Forklift Battery Charging Station You Require
A forklift battery charging station is essential to the safe and productive operation of your warehouse or facility. But, how do you go about installing a forklift battery charging station that meets all of OSHA’s requirements, in a way that’s both efficient and cost-effective? Modular construction utilizing panelized wall systems provides an ideal solution.
The Forklift Battery Charging Station That Fits Your Facility, Your Budget, and your Timeline
Modular panelized wall systems are uniquely positioned to deliver the charging station that meets every OSHA requirement, are uniquely designed to easily fit within your existing facility, and structurally sound to keep your employees safe for years to come.
- Modular wall systems install quickly. Pre-manufactured components ensure you can get exactly the space you need for your forklift battery charging station in just weeks.
- Modular panelized construction is flexible. Build your forklift battery charging station within your existing warehouse, build around a lift-assist device, or design your charging station into an entirely new space. Because modular wall panels can be customized to suit a range of shapes, sizes, and capabilities, it’s easy to get exactly the room you need, no matter what your facility looks like.
- Modular panelized wall systems are durable. Structural components are precision-engineered in controlled facilities to deliver a high-quality product that can stand up to the tests of heavy machinery for years to come.
Modular Wall Panel Construction Delivers all the Safety Features Your Forklift Battery Charging Station Needs
Beyond offering a range of high-quality construction options and customization features, modular wall system construction has the ability to deliver on every safety recommendation that OSHA has outlined.
- Fire-rated wall panels. Modular panelized construction components are available in a range of code-compliant options and are able to meet stringent fire ratings. The Starrco-HP wall panel, for example, is a Class 1 fire-rated panel that meets FM 4880 and 4881 standards and is well-suited to applications just like a forklift battery charging station.
- Upgraded wall surfaces. To accommodate safety features like an eyewash or emergency shower station, you’ll need water-resistant wall panel options. The Starrco-DL Class A non-combustible wall panel has been tested in accordance with ASTM-E-2768. Depending on your application, choose from upgrades wall surfaces including HDPE and FRP to ensure your forklift charging station is built to stand up to any hazard.
- Flexible and custom design options. Forklift charging stations require adequate ventilation to ensure that any gas produced by the charging process can disperse safely. Modular construction experts like Starrco work with local installers and contractors who can furnish turnkey forklift battery charging stations that are designed to address those ventilation and signage requirements.
Modular panelized wall construction is a long-term investment option for any warehouse or facility with a need for a forklift battery charging room. Providing not only the strength and safety features you need, modular construction is also durable and flexible for the future. And, with additional tax benefits — modular panelized wall systems are often considered tangible personal property — your forklift battery charging room will depreciate in just 7 years, rather than the 39 required for traditional construction.
This tax benefit, among others associated with the quality and flexibility of modular wall system construction, ensures you’re getting the best, safest forklift battery charging station, at a smart, affordable investment cost.
If you’re looking to implement a forklift battery charging station, but aren’t sure where to start, Starrco’s high-quality modular components offer all the features your facility needs to meet OSHA’s requirements for a proper forklift battery charging station. For more information or for help getting your station’s design started, our experts are here to help! Give our team a call at 800-325-4259 or contact us online today.