Environmental Problems About Electric Forklift Batteries
The electric lift truck is generally considered more safe and stable compared to gas and diesel powered IC engines. Both gas and diesel engines pose a fire risk and emit harmful exhaust toxins. The electric forklift is not without is hazards however. They have rechargeable batteries as their power source, and batteries could present risks to personal safety as well as to the environment. There are risks associated with the use, manufacture, disposal and storage of rechargeable batteries for forklifts.
The forklift battery consists of lead plates being placed in a solution of sulfuric acid, which are known 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 could result in a variety of health issues to people and could even be fatal. The sulfuric acid used in forklift batteries is detrimental to skin and can lead to severe burns. Sulfuric acid also produces noxious fumes which can cause damage to both the natural environment and to humans.
Regular Storage and Use
Lead-acid batteries could produce hydrogen gas as a chemical byproduct when recharging. When recharging batteries for a lift truck or any other kinds of vehicle, smoking, sparks, heat and flames should be kept well away from the recharging place. The combustible hydrogen can lead to an explosion if ignited by flame or heat.
If it touches the bare skin, sulfuric acid in the batteries can cause chemical burns. This is not an issue during normal use of the battery, but if a battery is damaged or punctured, the acid could leak or spray, potentially burning anyone who is nearby.
Incorrect disposal of lead-acid batteries must always be avoided. These batteries must be recycled properly or reused in new batteries so that the sulfuric acid can either be recycled or neutralized. To avoid the serious environmental consequences of incorrect disposal, all lead-acid batteries sold or bought in the U.S. include a "core charge" which would only be returned if the used battery is turned in.