A Multitude of hazards
Explosive hydrogen….Acidic liquids and vapors….Electrical burns….Strains,
sprains, hernias and compressed discs. All of these hazards arise when servicing, charging, or jumping the
common lead-acid battery found in cars and trucks. The hazards can be minimized by following a few common
sense safety rules.
Eye Protection: First, always wear safety goggles or a face shield when
working around a battery. Batteries contain corrosive acids that are capable of eating away metals. It takes
just one droplet to cause serious eye damage. Just popping open the vent cap may throw out a droplet. A short or
faulty regulator can cause the electrolyte to boil, releasing acid vapors. A fault within the battery could
cause it to explode, throwing fragments of the case and acid.
Fire Protection: Lead-acid batteries produce flammable hydrogen gas while
being charged. This highly explosive gas, generated within the cells, will expand and seep out of the vent caps.
A cigarette, tool, or spark from any source could ignite the gas, causing the battery to explode. Always charge
in a well ventilated area. Remember too that the battery is receiving a charge and releasing hydrogen when the
car is running, not just when hooked up to a battery charger.
Jump Starting: Dead batteries in cars and trucks are not
uncommon-particularly in winter. The first thought is to get a jump start. When jumping a battery, remember the
Be sure all electrical equipment is off. If you connect the jumper battery while a load is
being drawn, a spark could occur.
the battery fluid level. If the plates are exposed, add water until they are covered. Never add acid.
sure both batteries are of the same voltage.
sure vent caps are in place to prevent electrolyte splash.
good quality jumper cables-at least 10-gauge wire.
be sure of your polarity when arranging the jumper cables:
Connect the first cable to the positive (+) terminal of the good battery;
then attach the other end of that cable to the positive (+) terminal of the dead
Next, attach the second cable to the negative (-) terminal of the good
battery, and then the last connection to a clean metal part, such as the engine block of
the car being energized, rather than to its negative battery terminal. This completes the
electrical circuit, as if it were connected to the dead battery, but if sparks are produced, it
serves to keep them away from any explosive battery gases.
Never lay your tools on top of the battery. They could come in contact with
both posts, or the positive post and a ground, creating a short.
Protect Your Back: Batteries are heavy. If you must move one, use a battery
strap as a handle, keep your back straight-don't bend at the waist--and tighten your stomach muscles as you
lift. Don't twist your spine as you lift or move it.
these rules apply both on and off the job. The batteries in your own vehicle or on your boat are just as
potentially dangerous. Respect the hazards and take no chances or short