EnerSys® Battery Solutions - Designed to Minimize Worker Safety Risk

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- 4 Jul 2024 ( #1186 )
5 min read

Christina Warn, Global Director of Marketing, Motive Power at EnerSys®

Today’s challenges with hiring and retaining workers make their safety a pressing concern for almost any Operations or Facility Manager. Aside from the human cost when someone gets hurt, worker injuries requiring a doctor average $40,000 per incident1. Thus, even a single injury incident can constitute a significant financial expense. Plus recruiting, hiring and training replacement workers is becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming. 

To help protect workers, EnerSys® engineers develop advanced material handling batteries and chargers that improve safety by eliminating some of the riskier changing and maintenance activities associated with forklift LPG tanks (liquid petroleum gas or propane) and traditional lead-acid batteries. 

 

Battery & LPG Tank Changing 

In combustion-powered forklift equipment, the average LPG tank weighs approximately 40 lbs. (18 kg.) and needs to be routinely lifted to about 4 ft. (1.2 m) onto its back deck. With a single tank change per shift, an operator will lift more than 10,000 lbs. (4,535 kg.)  in one year, the weight of an entire forklift – opening the potential for back injuries, severe muscle strains and other injuries.  

With 38% of injuries to stock and material movers being musculoskeletal2, having forklift operators routinely lift that much weight, up to that height, puts them at risk, especially those who may be shorter or those with pre-existing back injuries. 

As well, forklift batteries can weigh 1,000 to 4,000 lbs. (454 to 1,814 kg) - requiring dedicated changing equipment and space inside the facility. By its very nature, moving batteries of that magnitude in and out of forklifts opens the risk of exposure to accidents and resulting injuries. 

 

Equipment & Battery Maintenance 

LPG and combustion equipment in general requires routine maintenance procedures like oil, coolant and other fluid changes, filter replacements, tuning, emissions checks, and other mechanical work. 

But the safety implication is the byproducts of maintaining LPG and combustion equipment includes used, contaminated lubricants, fluids and filters, which are often considered to be hazardous materials – exposing workers to a wide variety of different chemicals and substances, some of which have been shown to be carcinogenic3.

In electric equipment, washing and maintaining traditional lead-acid forklift batteries can also expose your workers to potential injury from a variety of sources. With approximately 20,000 workplace eye injuries every year4, protection measures, such as eye wash stations and personal protective equipment (PPE) are often required to help protect workers from splashes of acid-based electrolyte. The washing and potential spills of battery solution onto your floor can also damage that or present a slip-and-fall hazard as well. 

 

Eliminate the Activity, Eliminate its Inherent Risk 

Unlike traditional lead-acid batteries and combustion equipment, maintenance-free NexSys® batteries eliminate the need for battery and tank change-outs along with the hazardous byproducts of engine maintenance. 

NexSys® batteries are designed specifically for “opportunity charging”. Operators merely plug the batteries into chargers during any work stoppages – breaks, lunches, shift changes or any other time the forklift isn’t needed. Since the batteries are designed to stay in the equipment, the need to change-out, and its inherent risks for workers, is essentially eliminated. 

The sealed design of NexSys® batteries also eliminates the need for watering. Since there is no watering, potential overflow-related corrosion and resultant need for washing are also eliminated, as are concerns about workers being splashed by electrolyte solution or slipping on spilled solution or wash water. 

Our line of maintenance-free NexSys® batteries comes in thin plate pure lead (TPPL) and lithium-ion technologies to cover a broad range of operational needs. 

NexSys® TPPL batteries deliver unmatched performance in light- to medium-duty applications that historically relied on flooded lead-acid batteries, but do not require the heavy-duty energy capabilities of lithium-ion batteries.

NexSys® TPPL batteries also offer an advanced battery management system (BMS) and intelligent charging controls to further safeguard equipment operators and available data management tools that proactively alert users to potential safety issues and operational disruptions. 

For high-reach, high-volume applications requiring a bit more energy, NexSys® TPPL batteries can also be equipped with an optional Accelerated Throughput Package (ATP) to give your forklift the boost it needs to run longer and reach higher. 

For heavy-demand operations, our NexSys® iON lithium-ion batteries also eliminate watering and long downtime for equalization. Their high-performance lithium-ion chemistry and sophisticated BMS, built to ISO 26262 standards, provides roughly a ten times higher level of safety versus the typical industry standard. Coupled with a robust, industrial-grade design for regular single- or upgraded dual-cable charging, NexSys® iON supports greater safety, reliability and battery life in the most stringent, high-throughput applications. 

Both of our NexSys® battery technologies also carry appropriate certifications from a range of recognized global safety organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and compliance markings such as CE (Conformité Européenne) and UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed). 

 

Safety Starts with Properly-prescribed Power 

To help determine which NexSys® maintenance-free battery technology is best for your operation, EnerSys® relies on your fleet data - coupled with advanced modeling software. Starting with a power study to gather data on your equipment’s actual energy demands, EnerSys® employs that data in its EnSite™ modeling software to optimize the battery and charger combination for your equipment and operation. 

Since demands on your operation may change in the future, this data-driven simulation approach also enables EnerSys® to account for potential changes in shift patterns and throughput demand – ensuring you have right-sized power for your equipment, now and in the future. 

 

Supplemented with World-class Support

Like all EnerSys® products, once deployed in your operations, NexSys® maintenance-free batteries are fully-supported by one of the industry’s largest dedicated support teams. With over 800 certified technicians operating out of over 150 locations worldwide, your equipment’s power system receives 24/7 support – helping ensure your operations stay running. 

 

Start Your Change to Stop Changing

EnerSys® is dedicated to prescribing, deploying and supporting motive power solutions that help drive safe, productive daily operations for our customers based on performance, reliability and convenience. If you are interested in learning more about our NexSys® maintenance-free batteries or starting a power study with EnSite™ simulation to right-size your equipment power, please visit our website, or contact your local EnerSys® sales representative.

 

Sources:

  1. www.injuryfacts.nsc.org 
  2. www.bls.gov 
  3. www.p65warnings.ca.gov 
  4. www.aao.org 
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