Exposure to lead is the primary health concern in battery manufacturing, and consequently, the focus of this topic page. Any operation in which battery plates, lead scrap, or oxide is handled may be a significant source of lead exposure. Airborne dispersion of lead dust (which settles on equipment, floors and other surfaces) via cross-drafts, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and dry sweeping, may be an additional source of lead exposure.
If the dross that forms on top of lead pots is handled carelessly, lead exposure can result. Lead particles can also become airborne via attachment to acid or water mists. Lead fumes from lead pots, torching, burning, or other operations where a flame contacts lead, or lead is heated above the melting point, may also be sources of lead exposure.
Battery manufacturing plants under federal jurisdiction are required to comply with Federal OSHA occupational safety and health standards for general industry (29 CFR 1910).
- Lead: Battery Manufacturing. OSHA eTool. Provides an interactive web-based training tool on controlling lead exposures in battery manufacturing.
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.