Environmental Problems About Electric Lift Truck Batteries
The electric forklift is generally considered more safe and stable compared to diesel and gas powered internal combustion engines. Both diesel and gas 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 the natural world as well as to personal safety. There are risks associated with the manufacture, use, storage and disposal of rechargeable batteries for forklifts.
Most forklift batteries are made by placing lead plates into a solution of sulfuric acid. These are known as lead-acid rechargeable batteries. Lead is a toxin which, when used in manufacturing processes, poses hazards to water quality because of drainage and runoff. Once lead enters a water system it could lead to various types of health problems to people and can even lead to death. The sulfuric acid utilized in forklift batteries is very detrimental to skin and could lead to severe burns. Sulfuric acid also produces harmful fumes which can cause damage to both humans and the natural environment.
Regular Use and Storage
Lead-acid batteries can produce hydrogen gas as a chemical byproduct when recharging. When recharging batteries for any kinds of vehicle or a lift truck, flames, heat, sparks and smoking must be kept well away from the recharging site. The flammable hydrogen can cause an explosion if ignited by flame or heat.
Sulfuric acid in the batteries could cause chemical burns if it touches the bare skin. This is not an issue during normal use of the battery, but if a battery is damaged or punctured, the acid can leak or spray, potentially burning anybody who is nearby.
Disposing of lead-acid batteries improperly should be avoided at all costs. The sulfuric acid can either be recycled or neutralized or can be reused in new batteries. In order to prevent the serious environmental consequences of incorrect disposal, all lead-acid batteries bought or sold within the United States include a "core charge" that would only be returned if the used battery is turned in.