Battery Safety

Batteries demand lots of caution when you work around them or move them.  They are very heavy, store enough energy to start a fire, are full of dangerous sulfuric acid, and emit explosive hydrogen gas.  Fun stuff, eh? Here are some safety tips for working with your batteries. Note:  These safety precautions are for standard lead-acid batteries, since nickel-cadmium batteries use a base--potassium hydroxide--instead of sulfuric acid for an electrolyte.  Follow the manufacturers instructions instead of these with your NiCad batteries.

  • Install your batteries in a vented battery box, they emit hydrogen gas when charging
  • Never install electrical equipment in the same compartment as batteries due to explosive hydrogen gas
  • No smoking around batteries for the same reason
  • Wrap wrench handles in electrical tape to avoid shorting between battery terminals.  A 6-volt golf cart battery can turn a wrench red hot in seconds
  • Wear goggles and rubber gloves to protect yourself from sulfuric acid when moving or working on batteries
  • Keep a box of baking soda and a jug of water around to neutralize any spilled battery acid
  • If you get acid on your skin, flush with lots of water
  • In case of acid in your eyes, flush with water for 15 minutes and call a doctor
  • Make sure someone else is around when you work on or move batteries