The Handling & proper use of Lead Acid Batteries is not hazardous provided appropriate precautions are taken and proper facilities are available in the event of any mishap. A nutshell guide is appended below to help indicate potential hazards that may arise and an outline of precautions that should be taken up to minimize such hazards.If an accident should happen, each section below will advise the correct accident and emergency procedures

SULPHURIC ACID (ELECTROLYTE)

Batteries contain sulphuric acid, which may leak and may be given off as gasses and/or a fine mist during charging.

NATURE OF HAZARD

Battery acid is a poisonous and corrosive liquid which will cause burns and irritation to the skin and eyes and will also burn through clothing.

PRECAUTIONS

  • Always handle batteries with care and keep upright.
  • Do not Overfill Batteries
  • Always charge in a well-ventilated area.
  • Always use eye protection and protective clothing where there is any risk of splashes
  • Always keep away from children

ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY TREATMENT

Skin Contact: Immediately drench the affected area with clean water and remove any contaminated clothing. If soreness or irritation persists, seek medical advice.

Eye Contact: Spped of action is vital. immediately wash out the eyes with clean water for at least 10 minutes and seek prompt medical attention.

Ingestion: Do NOT induce vomiting, but make the patient drink as much water or milk as possible and seek immediate medical attention.

Spillages: For small spillages, swill away thoroughly with plenty of water.

Disposal: Suitable acid resistant, labeled containers should be used

ELECTRICAL ENERGY

Electrical energy can be supplied from batteries and charging

NATURE OF HAZARD

Burns may occur from the heating effect on tools and conductive objects in contact with live battery terminals or conductors. In addition, sparks and molten metal may be ejected and combustible materials ignited. It is possible to receive a severe electric shock from charging equipment and from a number of batteries connected in series.

PRECAUTIONS

  • Before using conductive tools on a battery, remove metallic personal adornments from the hands and wrists, i.e. watches and rings.
  • Disconnect the battery before working on a vehicles electrical systems, disconnecting the earth terminal from the battery first and connect it again last.
  • Do not place conductive tools or objects on top of a battery.
  • Before using a battery charger, consult manufacturer's literature.
  • Remember to switch the charger off, before connecting or disconnecting a battery.

ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY TREATMENT

Burns: Cool the area with cold water, apply a sterile dressing and seek medical attention.

Electric Shock: Immediate action is essential in cases of severe electric shock as the nerves controlling breathing and heart action may be affected. Do not delay treatment by calling for a doctor: this should be done quickly if help is available of when the casualty recovers:

  • Make sure it is safe to approach. If the casualty is not clear of a live conductor, break the contact. Switch off the current, remove the plug, or wrench the cable free. If this is not possible, stand on a dry insulating material (wood, rubber, brick, thickly folded newspaper or a book) and try to push or pull the casualty clear of contact using similar insulating material as a lever. Do not touch him/her with bare hands.
  • If necessary , give cardio pulmonary resuscitation

EMISSION OF GASES

Hydrogen and oxygen are emitted during charging and can be emitted at other times, particularly if a battery is moved or shaken. Therefore, always consider that gas is present in the immediate vicinity or at the top of the battery.

NATURE OF HAZARD

An explosive atmosphere is created if the concentration of hydrogen in air exceeds 4%.

PRECAUTIONS

  • Always use eye protection where there may be any foreseeable risk
  • Avoid sources of ignition close to batteries
  • No smoking
  • No naked flames
  • Always switch off current before making or breaking electrical connection
  • Avoid sparks caused by accidental short circuits

IN GENERAL

  • Familarise yourself with the location of your nearest Health Centre/Hospital
  • Keep handy the Contact Nos. of Fire, Police, Ambulance & Safety office In-Charge
  • Remember to report any accident, involving personal injury, in your official accident book.
  • Keep Record of any repair or other work on batteries is contemplated

EMERGENCY TREATMENT

Seek any necessary medical attention and remember that sulphuric acid may have been ejected

Weight: Batteries are generally heavy, awkward units to handle and correct lifting techniques must therefore be used.

Damaged Batteries: Battery plates consist of lead and its compounds but can only be exposed if a battery is broken open. In such an event, any spillage should be well damped, swept up and placed in a suitable acid resistant, labelled container prior to disposal. Normal personal hygiene precautions should be observed.

Disposal: Batteries, battery cases, battery acid and lead and lead compounds, must not be burned but must be disposed of in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Law of Land.

For further information consult your Local Environmental Department

Fire: Since batteries contain combustible materials, the Local Fire Authority should be consulted where a quantity of batteries are stored together.

Transportation by Road

Acid filled batteries are subjected to the Road Traffic Regulations under ‘Carriage of Dangerous Substances and Packages’