Lead Acid Battery Banks

Hazards

Working with lead-acid batteries can expose a worker to:
  • Chemicals (the sulfuric acid electrolyte and the lead)
  • Electrolytes are highly corrosive and can produce severe burns on contact.
  • Shock and/or arcing hazards
  • Hydrogen gas produced during charging

Safe Work Practices


Because hydrogen can be generated during charging, work performed on an in-service battery bank system must use methods or tools that preclude circuit interruption or arcing in the vicinity of the battery.

When selecting work practices and personal protective equipment, workers must consider exposure to these hazards to prevent accidental short-circuits that can result in electrical arcing, explosion, and/or “thermal runaway” of the batteries. Insulated tools are

Scheduled inspection and maintenance should verify and maintain the proper wiring configurations and proper charging rates as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Installation, maintenance, testing and replacement of a battery or batteries in a bank requires a written procedure, job hazard analysis (JHA), and pre-job safety briefing including review of the manufacturer’s instructions before work can commence.

During storage and staging, terminals should be covered with an insulating material to prevent accidental shorting of the battery posts.

Additional guidance can be found at ESHD 5008, Section 2, Chapter 14