Celebrating National Forklift Safety Day: Three Ways We Make Forklift Trucks Safer

June 14, 2016

This year, June 14 not only marks Flag Day, but also National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association to highlight the safe use of forklifts and the importance of operator training.

We’ve all seen the videos of ”worst practices” where forklifts are being used inappropriately. But, Plug Power takes every advantage to strengthen the safety records associated with our products. There are notable attributes of the hydrogen and fuel cells we offer that increase forklift safety on a daily basis.

I know what you’re thinking – American-made Plug Power fuel cells replace batteries in old and new forklifts and other material handling vehicles – how does this increase safety? Here are three ways:

  1. No more heavy lifting. Forklift batteries are very heavy, weighing 2,000 pounds or more, making lead-acid battery changes incredibly dangerous. With GenDrive fuel cells, employees no longer need to swap heavy batteries each shift, in fact, the fuel cells don’t have to be swapped at all. They are refueled in just minutes from a hydrogen dispenser and then it’s back to work. And the best part, though not a safety benefit, battery room real estate is no longer needed at warehouse and manufacturing facilities at all, which also has the benefit of freeing up more space to store the products that contribute to the bottom line.
  1. No more battery acid. Traditional lead-acid batteries contain caustic battery acid that can cause severe chemical burns if it comes in contact with skin. In addition, inhalation can cause difficulty with breathing, ingestion may lead to internal burns of the mouth and throat and contact with eyes can cause blurred vision and can lead to blindness. With hydrogen fuel cells, employees simply refuel the fuel cell with no need to come in contact with the battery. And unlike what customers may be used to with batteries, no ventilation is required for the fueling or use of hydrogen fuel cells Even better, the only byproduct of a hydrogen fuel cell is water and heat. You do not need to maintain an acid spill kit and employees do not need to wear any PPE when handling or refueling GenDrive, simplifying daily activities even further.
  1. No more lead-acid battery disposal concerns. Lead-acid batteries are made of hazardous materials and toxic chemicals and therefore must be disposed of appropriately to prevent exposure of these elements into the environment. When lead-acid batteries are at the end of their useful life, employees and their companies must deal with the logistics, cost and time consuming activities that are required to dispose of the batteries.  Fuel cells however, can be refurbished and put back into use without the environmental issues associated with lead-acid batteries.

It takes a team of dedicated professionals to keep a warehouse or manufacturing facility flowing optimally.  We are proud to be a part of that team and solution, and wish forklift operators everywhere safe travels and a Happy Flag Day!