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Three Ways to Deal With the Hazards of Hydrogen Gas in the Warehouse Battery Room

Comustibles

Forklift batteries are one of the most crucial components of any warehouse; without these batteries, it’s impossible to transport large quantities of stock with the help of a forklift.

However, these batteries are notorious for containing a number of hazards that threaten the health and safety of your warehouse personnel. One of the biggest hazards? Hydrogen gas.

Hydrogen may be one of the formative elements of water and subsequently one of the most crucial elements to our survival — but when it’s not paired up with oxygen, hydrogen is highly dangerous.

During the everyday forklift battery removal and charging processes, flammable hydrogen gas is produced as a result of the chemical reactions taking place within the forklift battery. If a battery is being overcharged or overheated, even more hydrogen gas gets produced.

In high enough densities, hydrogen gas can cause explosions due to its highly-flammable nature. In addition, inhaling this gas can cause personnel to lose consciousness and even result in fatality, as this gas is an asphyxiant.

Want to improve your battery room safety for all personnel during the forklift battery removal process? Here are three things you can do to reduce the hazards of hydrogen within the forklift battery changing area:

Protective gear

This one should be a no-brainer: before allowing personnel to work around forklift batteries that are being charged, they should wear face and eye protection, along with gloves and aprons. While this equipment won’t necessarily shield them from a hydrogen-induced explosion, it will help protect them in the event of acid or electrolyte spray.

Ventilation

OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates that all forklift battery handling areas be equipped with adequate ventilation to provide a continuous source of air flow throughout the room. If hydrogen gas does escape from a battery, this ventilation will quickly disperse the hydrogen molecules, preventing an explosion or fire from occurring.

A hydrogen-monitoring device

Like any gaseous element, hydrogen can’t be seen; nor does it have a scent. To monitor the density of hydrogen gas within a given area, portable or integrated hydrogen monitoring devices are a wise investment to make. This will allow all personnel to detect when hydrogen levels are reaching dangerous densities, and to make the necessary changes to their activities before an emergency takes place.

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