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Safety Alert-Battery Explosion Incidents

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					                           *** Safety Alert ***
Battery Explosion:

Battery Explosion while attempting to jump start engine.

    Description of Incident: July 14th employee was attempting to re-charge a low/dead
     battery, when battery explosion occurred. Employee had installed jumper cables on the
     source batter, and then installed the live end of the jumper cables (RED) to the low/dead
     battery. Employee then attached the negative lead from source battery to the low/dead
     battery, battery exploded, showering employee with battery acid solution and plastic debris.
     Employee was transported to hospital and treated for chemical exposure, and later
     released.

Factors to Consider:

              Age, temperature, and general usage will decrease the battery efficiency, therefore
               increasing the likelihood that the battery will need to be jump started.
              Maintenance program should asses the current battery condition.
              Failure to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) No Safety Glasses
              Improper installation of jumper cables.
              No Job Safety Analysis, Procedure, or Best practice to assist employees in
               identification of the hazard.

General Battery Knowledge:

      12-volt lead-acid batteries typically have six (6) two-volt chambers, referred to as cells, which
       contain a grid of lead plates submerged in sulfuric acid. Electricity is generated when the acid reacts
       with the lead plates and water.
      The by-product of the process is gaseous hydrogen, and the element so highly flammable that it is
       used to power rockets engines. Charging, or jumping batteries will also generates hydrogen, and
       because heat/temperature drives up the hydrogen output, you can expect generally higher outputs in
       hot weather.
      The hydrogen gasses can and will cause an explosion if allowed to cone in contact with spark, or
       open flames ( the battery itself can be the source of the ignition)
      As a battery ages, it loses water leaving the top of the lead plates exposed to the air inside the
       battery case. Over time this can lead to warpage of the plates.
      Starting the engine puts a heavy demand for power, causing the already warped plates to flex, touch
       each other thus cause a spark. The most common cause of battery explosions upon start up is dirty
       battery posts and cables. The dirt prevents a good connection and allows electrical arcing.
      Improper jump-starting is another leading cause of explosions. The mistake many people make is to
       connect the jumper cable to the source battery and then to the low/dead battery, a practice that
       causes sparking.
      Potential for battery explosions are grater than years past due to the batteries being sealed
       preventing adding water to keep the electrolyte solution above the lead plates.
      Regular maintenance and inspection, along with a greater understanding of proper procedures is the
       key to avoiding accidents.

          Produced by: Safety by Design on behalf of Client

				
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posted:9/20/2012
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