IMPORTANT NOTICE – Rechargeable Battery Awareness
NOTICE – Rechargeable Battery Awareness
Charging and Using Batteries Safely
User competence – those who select and use batteries must work to the manufacturer’s safety guidelines and any relevant safe systems of work. The battery must be suitable for the equipment e.g. some rechargeable batteries may not maintain the required voltage levels for normal operation. These requirements become particularly important where the batteries, their chargers or the equipment used are unfamiliar. It is not unknown for faulty or incorrectly charged batteries or charging leads to catch fire or explode.
Charging – ensure you only use the correct charger for rechargeable batteries. Batteries vary in their required charging rates, with battery damage possible unless the charger is sophisticated enough to sense the battery type and deliver an appropriate charging routine. Never try to charge a battery which is damaged / known to be faulty. Battery chargers can get hot – make sure they have a clear flow of air around them and do not place them on something which could catch fire on heating. Make sure the battery charger is designed for (or can be switched to) the voltage of the mains supply being used.
Charger condition – before use, inspect the battery charger for any signs of damage or faults – do not use if damaged / faulty. Do not use battery chargers outdoors where they could become wet. Mains powered battery chargers (and any extension leads) must have an in-date portable appliance test (PAT).
Damaged / faulty batteries – batteries which show signs of damage or faults should be removed from service and appropriately disposed of to prevent inadvertent re-use. Signs of damage include bulging or splitting of case, signs of electrolyte leaks, corrosion on terminals, excessive heating of casing or resistance to charging.
Operating life – for rechargeable batteries, try to adopt a use and recharging cycle that best preserves battery condition and life.
Fire – should a fire occur in a Li-ion battery, without putting yourself at risk of injury, you should quickly place the battery / equipment on a non-combustible surface and away from other materials which could catch fire. Foam, wet chemical, or carbon dioxide extinguishers can be used.
Charging Stations – It is advised charging stations are set up in one location on site with the necessary firefighting equipment within this area. The battery charging station should be somewhere visible and not hidden in a cupboard or a back room out of the way. The Site Fire Risk Assessment will have to reference this area as too will the Construction Phase Plan.
In summary, please make sure of the following:
• Make sure you understand the battery manufacturer’s instructions on charging.
• Chargers and batteries used should have the relevant kitemark/ CE marking associated with them.
• Batteries not to be left charging on site overnight.
• Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
• Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured or immersed in water.
• Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete.
• Never cover chargers or charging devices.
• Don’t overload your sockets.
• If you need to buy a replacement battery, always choose a branded, genuine product.
• Check that the charging equipment is suitable for the battery, eg correct voltage and charging rate.
• Do not charge batteries around other equipment that could be an ignition source.
• Always use the charger that came with your equipment.
• Prevent short-circuits across their terminals – avoid storing with other metal objects (including other metal cased batteries), use non-metal containers for storage / transport.