OSHA Forklift Battery Compliance Tips

June 01, 2018

Get Your Industrial Forklift Battery Care In OSHA Compliance Today

Material handling equipment that is powered by industrial forklift batteries produce less emissions than gas powered units and in most cases no emissions. Zero emissions however, does not mean zero hazards or dangers. Safe forklift battery care procedures must be followed to reduce the chance of injury, damage or death when charging and servicing industrial batteries such as those used in forklifts and other material handling equipment.

Electric forklifts and material handling equipment are generally powered by large-lead acid batteries, which require routine charging and service. As a safety precaution OSHA requires that a specific area or room be designated for the sole purpose of battery charging and servicing.

Safety begins with proper preparations. Equipping any battery charging area starts with knowing your facility’s needs now as well as anticipating future needs. OSHA regulations require a designated area for all forklift battery charging tasks that take place. This battery room must be equipped with certain required items that keep employees safe and batteries in good condition.  The experts at SSMP can help your company build your battery room in OSHA compliance.

Forklift Battery Spill Containment Systems

Spill containment systems are also required. Most spill containments systems utilize trays lined with absorbent material that catches any spilled electrolyte solutions under batteries as they are being charged or serviced helping to reduce the environmental impact of leaking batteries.

Forklift Battery Spillage Clean Up Equipment

Spill clean-up packs will contain acid neutralizing agents and non-gassing acid absorbing pillows, which help in containing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte.

Forklift Battery Room Safety Signage

OSHA approved signage is required to inform and protect personnel visitors of potential safety hazards. SSMP representatives can help you obtain and position the proper signage.

Hydrogen Gas Detectors

Hydrogen gas a byproduct of the battery charging process can be explosive in high enough concentrations. It is required that all battery rooms have a functioning device to monitor the density of gas in the room.


Ventilation systems help in reducing and diffusing hydrogen gas from battery rooms helping to prevent dangerous accumulation while improving air quality. The experienced personnel at SSMP can help guide you through this process.

OSHA Requirements

When charging and servicing industrial forklift batteries, safe battery care procedures must be followed. The following are OSHA requirements that must be part of your company safety protocol.

  • Only allow designated certified and approved personnel to change or charge batteries.
  • All battery charging and changing needs to be performed in designated area by employer.
  • Charging installations must be protected from potential damage from trucks.
  • Smoking and other potential ignition sources are prohibited within designates charging area.
  • Make sure all battery filler caps are in place when being transported.
  • Always engage parking brake before batteries and charge or changed.
  • Removed and clean any and all battery corrosion and build up.
  • Adequate ventilation is required within the charging area while charging.
  • All employers must provide facilities for eye flushing, body and work area with water wherever electrolyte is handled. The only exception to this requirement are in areas when employees are only checking battery electrolyte levels or adding distilled water.
  • Turn chargers off when leads are being connected or disconnected.
  • Unsealed batteries must be enclosed with outside vents or a in well ventilated room, arranged as to prevent the escape of fumes, gases, and electrolyte spray.
  • Face shields, aprons and rubber gloves must be proved for all workers handling acids or batteries.
  • Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are required within the battery room.

At Southern States Motive Power, we are industrial battery experts. We can help you follow the OSHA guidelines and be in compliance. For more information on OSHA requirements for battery care of industrial powered forklifts visit OSHA at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/pit/forklift/electric.html

Or contact SSMP today and learn more how we can guide your company through the compliance process.

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