Daily forklift truck checks: how to safely check your battery

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Updated 27/03/2023

If your business has chosen to utilise electric forklifts, you will need to routinely check your battery as part of your daily walkaround checks. However, drivers must ensure they carry out these checks thoroughly and safely, and they need to be aware of what to look for. Any defects found with the battery should be reported immediately, but how do drivers know what to look out for?

In this guide, we will explore how FLT drivers can safely inspect their battery during their daily forklift checks, as well as the possible issues that can occur if they fail to check their batteries. We will also explain how the forklift operator can report any defects they find, and how the AssetGo app and digital checklists can make processes run smoothly.

Should I check my forklift battery in my daily checks?

If you operate an electric forklift, one of the most important inspections you will need to make during your daily forklift checks is the battery. It operates almost every aspect of the forklift; if it sustains any damage or defects, it could render your forklift inoperative. Therefore, there are various checks that should be performed in order to keep up with good forklift battery maintenance.

Before operating a forklift, drivers should check:

  • The amount of charge in the battery: it is common practice to charge the battery when around 20% is left; if you notice this during your daily forklift truck checks, allow it to charge before you set off

  • Leaks: if you notice any fluid leaking from the battery, you should report it as soon as possible and refrain from driving the forklift

  • The charger is switched off and the charge lead is properly disconnected and stored away

  • The battery retention device is in place

Drivers should also ensure that the battery is always dry and clean, and they should also aim to keep an eye on the electrolyte levels during a thorough examination.

A closeup of a forklift batter

How do I safely maintain my forklift truck battery?

As previously mentioned, drivers should always make sure that the battery is clean and free from debris that could damage it. If you notice that the electrolyte level is low, it should be topped up with demineralised or distilled water; if you are unsure of how to do this, report a defect and allow someone else to do it for you.

If charging the battery, try to wait until it is fully charged as cutting a charging cycle too early can hinder its longevity. To maintain forklift safety, forklift batteries should also be kept at a reasonable temperature, usually less than 45 degrees Celsius. If you notice any defects during the daily check of your battery, you should report them immediately on a daily walkaround checklist. To find out more about our digital checklists using our app, you can get in touch with us here.

What can happen if I do not inspect my forklift truck battery?

Failure to maintain the forklift battery can lead to several issues, and can even prevent it from working altogether. An unnoticed leak can not only stop your forklift truck from working, but it can prove to be a hazard for others. Failure to check and maintain your battery can lead to the battery not charging as well as it should, and the forklift may need to be charged more frequently or for longer. This can leave your forklifts out of action for an extended period of time.

Sometimes, if not maintained adequately, a new battery may need to be bought. This is a price that businesses would rather not make, so it is essential that you do not miss your forklift truck battery during your daily checks.

How can I accurately report defects with my forklift battery?

Similarly to commercial vehicles, forklift truck defects can easily be identified and reported by using a daily checklist. This highlights all the different elements of the forklift that need to be checked and marked as safe. Any defect found during these checks should be reported to the relevant person or department within your company, and it should be resolved as soon as possible to get the forklift working again.

With major defects, the forklift should not be operated until the issues have been resolved. Minor defects should still be reported, but you may still be able to operate the forklift; always check with a responsible person beforehand. In order to reduce downtime, digital forklift checklists can benefit your business by storing data safely and securely. This is where our daily walkaround checklists can assist you.

Closeup of forklift battery water level adjustment

How AssetGo can help

Here at AssetGo, our daily walkaround checklists can benefit HGVs, vans, trailers and forklifts alike. All commercial fleets need to be safe to operate; by carrying out daily checks of your vehicle, you can quickly identify defects and get them resolved as soon as possible. All data submitted is stored securely on a CMS system, with easy access to past checklists.

To find out more, or to request a free demo of our system, you can get in touch with us via our website today.

Common queries

How do I check the health of a forklift battery?

To check the health of your battery, you should carry out a range of diagnostic checks. These include:

  • Voltage

  • Temperature

  • Electrolyte and water levels

  • Discharge time

  • The amount of charge cycles

If you notice any issues with your battery health, you should report it immediately.

How often should a forklift battery be charged?

Forklift batteries should be charged, preferably, when around 20% is left, or at the end of your shift. Charging too frequently when the battery is not more than 20% discharged can cause damage and reduce battery life.

Should you top up a forklift battery?

In terms of watering an electric battery, it should never overflow, as it may lose some of the acid inside. Batteries should be topped up with distilled water after charging, not before.

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