Safety Requirements To Follow When Handling Batteries

All batteries are not the same, and as such, not all batteries should be approached the same or with the same safety requirements. The general single-use batteries that you can buy at the check-out line and 9V batteries that power small electronics are handled in a manner different from the gel and lead-acid batteries typically used to power much larger machines. These handling and safety requirements are all because of what they are made of.

Why There Are Different Safety Requirements

Single-use batteries are also called alkaline batteries and they contain zinc, copper, and other elements that are not considered highly hazardous to hold and to be around. In contrast, rechargeable batteries, the batteries that power scooters and solar products, are comprised of more complex metals that include lead-acid, lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and nickel-metal hydride. These metals enable these batteries to handle more powerful charging loads and to be able to charge and recharge many times while doing so.

But those same metals that make these batteries powerful can also be dangerous when they are not safely handled. The following is a look at the key safety requirements you should follow:

Important Safety Requirements for Handling Rechargeable Batteries

  • Take off metal tools and jewelry. When you are working around batteries or maintaining batteries, it's important to take off any metal jewelry and accessories (like watches) and avoid any non-insulated metal tools. This means tools without a plastic or similar grip that keeps your hands from directly touching the metal. Keeping metal away from batteries will prevent that metal from touching one or more of the battery's terminals. When metal touches terminals, it can result in sparks, an electrical shock (leading to mild electrocution), fire, or even a full-on explosion. 

  • Always wear gloves and eye protection. Arguably the most dangerous metal in rechargeable batteries is lead. Lead plates and lead-acid are both commonly found in these types of batteries and are commonly found because of how useful they can be at ensuring batteries can charge and store energy. But as great as lead is as a core battery component, it comes with some serious health risks. The sulfuric acid in lead-acid batteries is incredibly corrosive and can cause permanent blindness if it comes in contact with eyes and serious internal damage if swallowed. Additionally, simply being around lead can be dangerous and can increase one's risk of lead poisoning when one's bare skin is exposed to lead. Lead poisoning from prolonged exposure can cause headaches, memory problems, infertility, and other serious health issues that can be avoided by simply following recommended safety requirements. 

  • Never store in an airtight container. Batteries need to breathe in a way, and never should be stored in a container that does not allow some airflow. Without proper airflow, you can risk an explosion. Most safety requirements will advise going beyond this basic stipulation and also storing all batteries in a cool and dry area to further reduce the risk of sparks and unwanted accidents. 

  • Routinely check and tighten vent caps. If you are buying batteries with battery caps, then one of the most important safety requirements is having the vent caps regularly inspected to ensure they are tightened down. Vent caps that are loose or otherwise not properly secured can result in dangerous spills and off-gassing.

For More Safety Requirements, Contact MK Battery

To learn more about the important safety requirements you should follow when storing and maintaining batteries, contact our team at MK Battery.

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