Handling and the proper use of lead-acid batteries is not Hazardous provided appropriate facilities are available and operatives, having been instructed, are adequately supervised to take reasonable care.

The purpose of this guide is:

  1. To indicate the potential hazards that may arise.
  2. To outline the precautions to be taken to minimize such hazards.
  3. To indicate the action to be taken in the event of an accident or emergency situation.


Sulphuric acid is contained in batteries and may be given off as droplets or a fine mist during charging.

The Hazard

Battery acid is a poisonous and corrosive liquid, which will cause burns.


Always handle batteries with care and ensure they are kept upright. Do not overfill batteries and always charge in a well- ventilated area. Use eye protection and protective clothing where there is any risk from splashes.

Accident or Emergency Action/Treatment

Skin contact: Immediately drench the affected area with clean water and

remove any contaminated clothing. If any soreness or irritation persists

seek medical attention.

Eye contact: Immediately wash out the eyes with clean water for at least 10 minutes and seek prompt medical attention.

Ingestion: DO NOT induce vomiting but make the patient drink as much

water or milk as possible and seek medical attention.


Small spillages can be quite simply dealt with by swilling away with plenty of water.


Suitable acid resistant labelled containers should be used.


Electrical energy can be supplied from batteries and charging equipment.

The Hazard Burns may occur from the heating effect of tools and conductive objects in contact with live battery terminals or conductors. In addition, sparks and molten metal may be ejected and combustible materials, notably the gaseous fumes, ignited to cause potentially lethal explosions. It is possible to receive a severe electric shock from charging equipment and from a number of batteries connected in series; i.e. five or more 12 volt nominal.


Before using conductive tools on a battery, remove metallic objects from the hands and wrists. Before working on a vehicle electrical system, blow across the terminals and the vent holes to disperse any fumes and disconnect the battery where there is no risk of accidental short circuits. Always disconnect the earth terminal first and connect last. Keep, charge, check, and test batteries in a well-ventilated area. Do not place tools or conductive objects on top of batteries. Before using a battery charger consult manufacturer’s literature. Remember to switch the charger off before connecting or disconnecting a battery.

Accident or Emergency Action/Treatment

Burns: Apply a dry sterile dressing and seek Medical attention.

Electric Shock: Immediate action is essential in cases of severe electric shock as the nerves controlling breathing and heart action may be affected.

Do not delay treatment by calling for a doctor, this should be done quickly if help is available or when the casualty recovers.

Make sure it is safe to approach. If the casualty is not clear of a live conductor, break the contact. Switch off the current, remove the plug, or wrench the cable free. If this is not possible. stand on dry insulating material wood, rubber, brick, thickly folded newspaper, a book and try to push or pull the casualty clear of contact using similar insulting material as a lever. Do not touch him with bare hands.


Never Smoke Near a Battery:

Don’t Create Sparks Near a Battery.

No naked flames.

Switch off current before making or breaking electrical connection.

Avoid sparks cause by accidental short circuits.

Accident or Emergency Treatment/Action

Explosion: Seek any necessary medical attention and remember that sulphuric acid may have been ejected. See also section 1.


Battery plates consist of lead and its compounds but can only be exposed if a battery is broken open. In the unlikely event of this happening, any spillage should be well damped, swept up and placed in a suitable acid resistant labelled container prior to disposal.

Normal personal hygiene precautions should be observed.



Batteries, battery cases, battery acid, lead and compounds must not be burned but must be disposed of in accordance with the appropriate legislation and local authority rules and regulations.


Since batteries contain combustible materials, the local Fire Authority should be consulted where a quantity of batteries are stored together.


No attempt should ever be made to renovate or repair a damaged battery. This work involves all of the hazards detailed in previous sections.

Any addition information, including battery labelling, that is provided to cover specific battery types and applications must be used in conjunction with this guide.