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Battery Repair and Reclaim >> Reclaim

Baghouse and stack for plant vacuum and dust collection system
Baghouse and stack for plant vacuum and dust collection system

Reclaim operations involve recycling scrap grids, plates, and straps. In any plant, reclaim operations must be isolated from the rest of the plant. Two different processes are used: dry reclaim and wet reclaim.

In dry reclaim the scrap material is re-melted in a lead pot, dross is removed, and lead ingots poured.

Wet reclaim operations involve preliminarily separating the paste from the plates and concentrating the paste before reprocessing the materials by re-melting and pouring ingots. Note: Wet lead should never be added to a heated lead pot.

The major source of lead exposure in the reclaim process comes from lead oxide which can become easily airborne.



Dry Reclaim
Figure 1. Water wash-down Figure 1. Water wash-down


Figure 2. Exhaust for transfer point Figure 2. Exhaust for transfer point


Figure 3. Keep floors clean Figure 3. Keep floors clean


Figure 4. Manual drossing Figure 4. Manual drossing
Potential Sources of Exposure
  • When barrels are dumped, or spilled, leaded material may become airborne.

  • Handling any leaded materials may contaminate clothing or result in airborne exposure.

  • During transportation, materials may spill or come in contact with employees.

  • Oxide spills may contaminate equipment and barrels.

  • Lead pots may emit high levels of lead fume and operators may be exposed during dumping and drossing.

  • The handling of material or dross may cause lead fume emissions and expose the operator.

  • Pig pouring may increase exposure to the operator if the area in not ventilated.
Possible Engineering Controls
  • Use ventilated conveying systems, ventilated barrel dumper, or front end loader instead of loading the melting pot manually.

  • Use automatic equipment for drossing.

  • Use exhaust ventilation for the melting pots, drossing operations, and ingot casting operations.

  • Isolate reclaim operations from other plant operations.

  • Provide exhaust ventilated scrap barrels at workstations.
    Arrow Scrap Pot and Dross Hood
  • Exhaust all transfer points (see Figure 2) and reclaim processes (that is, manual transfer to conveyor, storage hopper, and barrel dumper).
Possible Work Practice Controls
  • Ensure that local exhaust ventilation is working properly.

  • Cover all containers of scrap material being transported.
    Arrow Scrap Handling Barrel/Drum Exhaust Hood

  • Ensure that all scrap is dry before dumping it into a melting pot.

  • Vacuum all spills immediately using a central vacuum system or a HEPA vacuum.

  • Keep the area clean.

  • Use dust suppression techniques including keeping floors wet, using dust suppression compounds, or vacuuming.

  • Clean all drums after dumping.

  • Avoid splashing lead during pouring.

  • If a torch is used in cleaning up splashed lead, use local exhaust ventilation to avoid breathing fumes.

  • Keep water away from the melt pot to minimize the potential for an explosion caused by water being trapped under molten metal.

  • Use long handled tools when possible.

  • Provide adequate PPE, a change of clothes, and shower rooms (see OSHA Lead Requirements for PPE, Housekeeping, and Hygiene Facilities).
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Wet Reclaim
Figure 5. Exhaust melting pot Figure 5. Exhaust melting pot
Potential Sources of Exposure
  • Splashes of oxide on floors and equipment may dry and become airborne.

  • Handling leaded material increases risk of exposure.

  • During the transport of lead oxide material, lead particles may become airborne.

  • Paste spills dry and may become airborne.

  • Dumping dried lead oxide and dross causes lead pot emissions.

  • Handling dross may increase the operator's exposure to lead fumes.

  • Pig pouring may increase the operator's exposure to lead fume.
Possible Engineering Controls
  • Use ventilated conveying systems, ventilated barrel dumper, or front end loader instead of loading the melting pot manually (see Figure 5).

  • Use automated equipment for drossing

  • Exhaust ingot casting operations

  • Exhaust all transfer points (see Figure 3) and reclaim processes such as manual transfer to conveyor, storage hopper, and barrel dumper

  • Cover and exhaust all moving equipment that comes in contact with wet or dry paste

  • Isolate the reclaim operations from other plant operations

  • Provide screening or curtains to contain splatter

  • Provide exhaust ventilated scrap barrels at workstations
    Arrow Scrap Pot and Dross Hood
Possible Work Practice Controls
  • Work practice controls are the same as those in Dry Reclaim.

  • Ensure that all scrap is dry before dumping into a melting pot

    • Dross formed from melting mixed alloys containing Ca, Al, As, and Sb may form hazardous gases such as arsine and stibine if the dross becomes wet.
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