Battery Safety Tips

Battery safety

Button batteries can be found in many electronic devices – children’s toys, key fobs, calculators and musical greeting cards among them – which contain them. Mishandling one may result in sparks being produced as well as release explosive gases, thus potentially creating sparks or producing dangerous gases that may ignite.

NREL investigates mechanical battery safety with tests such as nail penetration and thermal abuse. We also investigate materials and designs that help prevent internal short-circuiting.


Electrocution is one of the most prevalent workplace injuries. Workers exposed to electrical equipment or live wires can become at risk of electrocution. Electrocution injuries may result from multiple sources, including contact with high-voltage power lines, malfunctioning electrical equipment or inadequate grounding procedures.

People exposed to electrical current can be subject to life-altering injuries when shocked by electricity. Though most electric shocks don’t prove fatal, they still cause considerable pain and damage for victims. Learning what electrocution is can help avoid such dangers and stop such incidents altogether.

Voltage and amperage are the two primary considerations when it comes to electrical deaths: Voltage is defined as the potential difference in electrical energy between two points, whereas amperage refers to actual current flowing through a conductor – so car batteries usually have more volts than home outlets but their latter often have much higher amperages – an increased amperage level may prove more hazardous due to Joule heating, leading to second and fourth degree burns.

An electric mark, which indicates electrocution, is usually one of the first symptoms. Its appearance depends on several factors such as shape and surface structure of conductor (including length and size), temperature contact between skin resistance, amperage density and duration.

Electrocution deaths typically result from direct contact with an electrical outlet or power line containing live current; such incidents can take place anywhere from the workplace and home, to natural disasters like floods.

Although all workers face the risk of electrocution, certain populations are particularly prone. Children and elderly adults are particularly prone at home while men tend to be at work – however many such incidents can be prevented through safe working practices, PPE use, and regular safety inspections.


Lithium-ion batteries have become an indispensable part of modern life and work environments, powering mobile phones, laptops, tablets, electric vehicles and tools. Unfortunately, however, lithium-ion batteries contain corrosive acids which generate electrical current that pose potential safety risks that must be managed with care when handling.

Battery fire is one of the greatest battery hazards. If left uncontrolled, a fire could quickly spread across your property and result in injury and even fatality. Fire can start due to both internal and external causes; for instance mechanical damage to separators; overcharging; improper charging practices and electrical misuse all pose potential threats that must be managed immediately to reduce potential injuries and damages sustained from thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is caused by side reactions between cathode materials, oxygen released at cathode side reactions as well as electrolyte decomposition processes creating heat within a battery resulting in uncontrolled generation of heat within it’s core; all contributing to thermal runaway.

Damage from battery fires includes burns, smoke inhalation and eye irritation. Sulphuric acid contained within batteries can be highly corrosive and cause severe burns if it comes in contact with skin or eyes; additionally, toxic fumes released by battery fires may burn lungs and damage mucous membranes resulting in respiratory distress and respiratory harm.

Regular inspection of lithium batteries should include looking out for signs of damage such as increasing temperature, bulging/cracking or hissing noises. If any battery shows these characteristics it should be immediately removed from service and placed on an inflammable surface; for fires involving multiple lithium cells such as those found in electric vehicles (EV), water may only provide limited extinguishing capabilities compared to using ABC dry chemical or sand as extinguishers.

Battery handling and charging should only be undertaken by qualified personnel with access to appropriate knowledge, equipment and facilities. Make sure that your facility’s procedures and work practices are up to date; including storage and cleaning of spent batteries (which can be found within manufacturer safe work practices and Material Safety Data Sheets). Consider hosting a Toolbox Talk for employees operating powered industrial equipment on how best to store and charge batteries safely.


Batteries contain batteries contain batteries contain batteries corrosive electrolyte of sulphuric acid that is harmful to both skin and eyes, clothing, lungs, as well as chemical burns that are typically irreversible and poisonous if swallowed – it is recommended that gloves should always be worn when handling batteries as well as keeping their compartment closed when not in use.

Lithium batteries are an integral component of many portable electronic devices and electric vehicles, but can pose potential safety hazards due to defective design or mishandling. Battery regulations can be complex; knowing which rules apply in particular situations may be difficult. Private groups often publish industry standards which don’t carry legal weight but serve as important benchmarks.

Battery systems must withstand harsh mechanical loads that exceed those experienced daily, which is one reason for safety tests that subject batteries to various situations, like dropping from height or forcing into short circuit.

Thermal runaway is another serious battery failure mode that leads to overheating and fires. It typically arises from large internal ionic currents passing through the battery, initiating uncontrollable electrochemical reactions between cathode and anode electrodes that produce heat that causes swelling separators and accelerates temperature rise – sometimes due to lithium dendrite formation under high-current density charging, improper temperature controls or defective separators assembled during assembly, or external metal debris penetration during cell crushing.

Lithium batteries contain highly flammable electrolyte that can easily ignite, leading to fire or explosion. Multiple incidents involving devices powered by lithium batteries catching fire or exploding have been reported by news outlets; often due to physical abuse, improper chargers or cheaper knock-off batteries.