Safety First

Rob Hirschberg: A few pointers

Wednesday, 7 March 2018 ( #862 )
Rob Hirschberg is the head of marketing at Alpine Power Systems, a leader in motive power solutions for the materials handling industry.
There are over 850,000 forklifts in operation in the United States.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 will be in an accident.
  • 85 of the accidents will be fatal.
  • Over 34,000 serious injuries will occur.
  • 70% of all forklift accidents may have been avoided had proper training been provided
Forklift driving tips:
  • Make sure your load is balanced.
  • Make it easy on the corners.
  • Drive nice and slowly.
  • Keep your load as low as possible.
  • Drive only in approved areas.
Proper attire for working on a forklift battery: Wearing the appropriate gear is the best method of protecting yourself while handling batteries. Electric forklift batteries can pose health and safety hazards because of the gas emitted, corrosive chemicals and the weight of the batteries. Due to these hazards, it is imperative that employees handling these batteries are equipped with the correct safety equipment in order to lessen any risks of danger. Employees engaging in the cleaning, changing, charging or repairing of forklift batteries should always wear protective clothing. When handling or working on a battery, it is best to wear a face shield, plastic or rubber gloves and an apron for optimum protection to eyes, skin and clothing.
  • PPE-approved goggles or face shield
  • Splashes to the eyes can be avoided by wearing proper eye/face protection; however, if electrolyte is splashed into the eyes, wash the eyes with water for 15 minutes and get immediate medical attention.
  • Employees working around battery acid should NOT wear contact lenses. In the event of an acid splash to the eyes, the acid could be held against the eye by the lenses. This will make it harder to flush the acid away - causing more serious damage to the eye.
  • Cover your hands with acid-resistant gloves
  • Workers should wear chemical-resistant gloves; rubber and neoprene gloves are normally sufficient for battery acid.
  • In particular, verify the gloves' resistance to sulfuric acid; contact your supplier for information.
  • All clothing should be acid-resistant
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing around batteries or open flames. If a long sleeve or other clothing item catches fire, the flames can spread instantly. Additionally, avoid wearing materials such as rayon, nylon, silk, or lace. These materials provide little to no protection against open flames or acid spills.
  • Apron
  • In particular, verify the apron's resistance to sulfuric acid; contact your supplier for information.
  • Footwear
  • Wear acid-resistant safety shoes or boots. Make sure your footwear is sturdy. Steel-toe boots can protect your feet from crush hazards.
  • Jewellery
  • Do not wear conductive metal jewellery when working around batteries. A battery is electrically live at all times. Metal objects can conduct electricity, resulting in a shock.
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