Environmental Issues About Electric Forklift Batteries
Electric lift trucks are normally more stable and safer compared to diesel and gas powered forklifts. Gasoline and diesel engines emit toxic exhaust and pose a risk of fire. Nevertheless, electric forklifts could be hazardous, as well. They have rechargeable batteries as their power source, and batteries could present risks to personal safety as well as to the natural environment. There are risks connected with the disposal, storage, manufacture and use of rechargeable batteries for lift trucks.
The lift truck battery consists of lead plates being placed in a sulfuric acid solution, that are referred to as lead-acid rechargeable batteries. Lead is toxic which, when used in manufacturing processes, poses hazards to water quality because of drainage and runoff. Once lead enters a water system it can lead to different kinds of health problems to people and could even result in death. The sulfuric acid used in forklift batteries is really detrimental to skin and could result in severe burns. Sulfuric acid also produces toxic fumes which can cause damage to humans and the environment.
Normal Storage and Use
When recharging, the lead-acid battery could produce hydrogen gas as a chemical byproduct. When recharging batteries for a forklift or any other types of vehicle, sparks, smoking, heat and flames should be kept well away from the recharging place. The flammable hydrogen could lead to an explosion if ignited by flame or heat.
Sulfuric acid in the batteries can cause chemical burns if it comes into contact with bare skin. This is not an issue during normal use of the battery, but if a battery is punctured or damaged, the acid can spray or leak, potentially burning anybody who is nearby.
Incorrect disposal of lead-acid batteries should always be avoided. These batteries should be recycled correctly or reused in new batteries so that the sulfuric acid could either be neutralized or recycled. In order to avoid the serious environmental consequences of incorrect disposal, all lead-acid batteries sold or purchased within the United States include a "core charge" which will just be returned if the used battery is turned in.