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There is a saying that not all things made are equal. That’s taking it a bit farther, but it is true.
For instance, batteries are not built the same, as they have different components, because they are used for different and specific purposes.
Either to turn on a flashlight, or to power, a sawmill, operate a generator, power an e-scooter, make a toy car run, or power an e-scooter. As such, not all batteries should be treated the same.
For example, common single-use batteries bought at a mom-and-pop check-out counter and 9V batteries that power small electronics are handled differently as compared to the gel and lead-acid batteries that are used to power larger machines.
The way the batteries are to be handled must conform to safety requirements precisely because they are made differently. The safety requirements are different.
Why are there different safety requirements?
Single-use batteries, also called alkaline batteries contain zinc, copper, and other elements but they are not considered highly hazardous to hold and be around.
On the other hand, rechargeable batteries are batteries that power adult electric scooters and other solar products. As such, they are comprised of more compound metals which include the following: lead-acid, lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and nickel-metal hydride. The said metals allow the rechargeable batteries to handle more powerful charging loads. They are also able to charge and recharge many times for repeated usage.
Word of caution: the metal composites that make the rechargeable batteries are powerful and can pose danger if not carefully handled.
Read through the key safety requirements and follow them carefully:
- Put away any metal you have on you. Before you start charging, remove the jewelry you’re wearing and place in a far place the non-insulated metal tools that you have. Non-insulated tools or jewelry can run the risk of arcing if accidental contact is made between a battery terminal and a grounded frame or another terminal. Also, gold or silver jewelry can become extremely hot if contact is made.
- Always wear gloves and use insulated tools to remove terminals and contain the battery. (Electrical arcing occurs when an electric current flows through the air from one conductive point to another. The heat and energy emitted by the arcing current can cause significant injury or death to anyone exposed to it. Source: www.safeopedia.com) The logic here is that when metal touches the terminals of the rechargeable battery, it can result in sparks or mild electric shock. Worst-case scenario – full-scale explosion or fire.
- Why is there a need to wear gloves and eye protection? The lead found in rechargeable batteries is dangerous because lead plates and lead acids are useful in ensuring these types of batteries can charge and store energy. The electrolyte in flooded lead-acid batteries contains sulfuric acid. Lead as a core battery component poses some serious health risks because the sulfuric acid in lead-acid batteries is highly corrosive and can cause permanent blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes. If accidentally swallowed, it can cause serious internal damage.
- What must you do if you come into contact with the battery’s electrolyte? Wash and flush the area with water immediately. If it comes into contact with your eyes, flush immediately with water for 15 minutes and urgently seek medical attention.
- This is important. First of all, avoid getting exposed to lead. The electrolyte cannot only damage clothes, but it will burn the skin if left untreated. Don’t let your bare skin come into contact with lead as it can increase your risk of lead poisoning. In fact, prolonged exposure to it can cause headaches, memory problems, infertility, and other serious health issues that can otherwise be avoided if there was no exposure to lead.
- Even electric scooter batteries need to breathe and as such, should never be stored in an enclosed area that does not allow some airflow. The risk of explosion can easily happen if there is no proper airflow. Commonsense safety requirements advise that storing all batteries in a cool and dry area will reduce the risk of sparks and unwanted accidents.
- Be careful and alert when removing a lead-acid battery. Lead acid batteries are heavy and many accidental injuries occur when lifting or moving batteries by hand. Use a battery carrier or make sure you have a good grip on the battery and have the strength to hold it safely.
- You can help prevent accidents by assigning an area for battery maintenance where there are properly insulated tools, protective gear ready on hand, a wash area in close proximity, proper ventilation and ample workspace.
- Make sure to use only the correct type of charger. Not all battery chargers are the same or work properly on a flooded lead-acid battery. This goes for electric scooter batteries as well. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to properly charge the battery and make sure your charger provides the best algorithm that maximizes battery life and power output. Battery charging should always be done in a well-ventilated area.
- Do away with potential sources of sparks or flames. Charging lead-acid batteries produce hydrogen and oxygen gasses from the electrolyte. When performing maintenance on lead-acid batteries, a spark or flame can ignite these gasses and could cause the battery to explode. So make sure to store batteries in a cool, dry and ventilated area. If you store large quantities of batteries, be sure the area is clear of any heat sources, flames, and sparks. It would be a good idea to post “No Smoking” and “Flammable” signs in and surrounding the area.
Having learned that batteries, in particular rechargeable batteries, contain chemicals, chemical reaction by-products, and an electrical current, that can cause a serious hazard to any person if not handled properly, e-scooter owners or riders must be aware that they should operate, maintain, and recharge batteries with care and caution.
In summary, remember these very important safety points when handling batteries:
- Always handle batteries with care.
- Never overfill with acid.
- Never allow children access to a battery.
- Always charge in a well-ventilated area.
- Never allow battery vents to become blocked.
- Always wear protective clothing.
To learn more tips about battery safety, log on to www.mearth.com.au