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#1 Posted : 29 March 2021 08:34:46(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

hi all

would anyone be able to help about this topic.

a battery charger for a fork lift truck is positioned inside the building in a well ventilated area so to speak. The concern is that the battery charging is being undertaken near an IR internal light which is in close proximity to the charging position. It comes on and off with movement. Also there are light switches in the vicinity also.

Is there a risk of ignition from the IR light and the fact that someone may operate the lights should there be a low level of light.

i would suggest yes. i am lookng for peoples thoughts and from an assessment point of view a flammable substance would be in close proximity of an ignition source should a circuit be made.

Thoughts appreciated.

Brian Hagyard  
#2 Posted : 29 March 2021 09:00:40(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

Two may variables to answer for sure.

How many trucks are you charging?

How good and what type of ventilation do you have.

What does close proximity mean?

If its one truck i would have thought its low risk.

I have only ever seen one charging "room" be classed as needing special electical fittings, but this had in eccess of 30 "pull out" battery units charging 24/7

Ian Bell2  
#3 Posted : 29 March 2021 10:29:15(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

The fire risk is virtually non existent - assuming the IR light/detector is positioned more than a few metres away from the forklift charging point.

The hazardous area of hydrogen will be less than 1m.

The autoognition temperture of hydrogen is circa 560deg C, the flammability range is 4-77% 

You have stated you that you consider that the ventilation is ok. Being lighter than air just ensure there is sufficient space/volume above the forktrucks and no particlar trap points above to stop the hydrogen dispersing.

If you want to be clever, you can use Faraday's law of electrolysis to estimate the amount of hydrogen being generated and then the Ideal Gas equation to determine the volume of hydrogen.

Remember hydrogen is mostly only generated when batteries are being recharged and only then during about the final 20% of the charging time period.

There is a British Standard on battery charging. Also a free HSE leaflet, if you search the HSE website.

Legally you should complete a DSEAR assessment.

thanks 1 user thanked Ian Bell2 for this useful post.
CptBeaky on 29/03/2021(UTC)
#4 Posted : 30 March 2021 08:14:56(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

...not non existant but unlikely different terms...and could cause problems with compliance...it may be negiligable extent with the extraction but it doesn't mean that if the extraction fails then everything is ok..it means you will have a explosive atmosphere..but you need to have the assessment in place to demonstrate it..most likely you will have Zone 1 for at least 1m around the battery vent...it will also depend on the type of battery you use as better technology  - valve regulated batteries do not vent and cannot be topped up so reduced the risk to zero..then you can say insignificant..  :)

#5 Posted : 31 March 2021 09:24:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

We have a number of charging fork lift charging points, whats most important is keeping the area clear and that there are no flammables in the vicinity.  The insurer that visited us advised that if there was a fire its most likely it would burn itself out and that they had clients where this had happened, they came back after the building being unoccupied and would not have known if it hadnt have been for the alarm triggering.

Ian Bell2  
#6 Posted : 31 March 2021 20:05:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

You are describing a flash fire. The hydrogen isn't generated quickly enough to sustain a fire, all being combusted in the flash fire.

Hence why ventilation and ensuring no gas trap points over the charging station is important. 

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