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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Working With Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are extremely heavy, in some cases weighting as much as an adult. Use proper lifting gear to move them and look after your back.

Heavier batteries quite often have hoops in the top case. To lift a battery, I tend to use a piece of rope threaded through these hoops to create a carrying handle. This means a battery can be carried close to the ground whilst reducing the need for anyone to bend over to pick up the battery.

Lead acid batteries contain sulphuric acid which is extremely corrosive and extremely dangerous to health. Splashes of liquid from the batteries can cause severe chemical burns and must be dealt with immediately.

When working with lead acid batteries, stay safe:
  • ALWAYS wear protective clothing – including overalls, eye protection (either protective glasses or a full-face shield) and protective gloves. Steel toe-capped shoes are also advised.
  • Keep batteries upright at all times.
  • Do not drop a battery. If you do, the likelihood is that the battery has been damaged. In the worst case scenario, the casing could be cracked or broken.
  • If you drop a battery, place it immediately in a spill tray (a heavy duty deep greenhouse watering tray can be used if necessary) and check for damage and leaks.
  • If you have a damaged battery, both the battery and the spill tray must be double bagged in sealed polythene bags and marked as hazardous waste.
  • If you have a spillage from a battery, mop up the spillage immediately using rages or disposable wipes. Place these rages in a polythene plastic bag, seal it and mark it as hazardous waste.
  • If any spillage from a battery comes into contact with clothing, remove clothing immediately and dispose it in polythene plastic bags.
  • If any spillage from battery comes into contact with eyes, wash repeatedly with eye-wash and seek urgent medical help.
  • If any spillage from a battery comes into contact with skin, wash off immediately with water, apply an anti-acid wash, cream or gel to stop burning and then seek urgent medical help.
  • If you end up with battery acid in your mouth, wash your mouth out with milk.
  • Do not smoke near batteries and ensure that wherever you are storing the batteries is well ventilated.
  • Try to prevent arcing or short circuits on battery terminals. Batteries can provide a huge current very quickly – short circuit a battery with a spanner and the spanner is likely to be real hot within a few seconds, and could easily lead to fire or explosion. Remove any rings, bracelets or watches you may be wearing and keep tools a safe distance away from batteries.
You may also be interested in checking out battery reconditioning and how to recondition battery.

Useful information Lead acid batteries:

Useful information battery reconditioning:

Learn how to recondition battery:

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