Defective batteries are repaired and salvaged. The plate groups are tested
and reused when possible. Groups are removed by sawing or cutting the covers
off the battery, breaking or burning the intercell connectors, and removing
The major source of lead exposure in the battery repair process comes from
lead oxide which can become easily airborne.
Potential Sources of Exposure
Figure 1. Keep areas vacuumed
- While removing plates, the operator, if not careful, may
spill oxide out of the battery case, bang the dry plates together or
against the case causing contaminants to become airborne.
- High levels of lead fumes are generated when flames are put in contact with
- Moving groups in and out of battery cases may cause a bellows
effect. The bellows effect will release lead particulates at the
- Contamination may occur from improper disposal of battery parts.
Possible Work Practice
- Provide local slot or downdraft ventilation at work stations.
- Put a vacuum drop at workstations used for battery repair and salvage.
- Use local exhaust ventilation on torch.
- Provide local exhaust ventilation in areas for storage of tools, plates, and supplies.
- Use air-propane or air-MAP gas instead of air-acetylene flame for
- Use a laminar
flow (supplied-air) island.
- Make sure ventilation is working properly around sawing areas.
- Keep area vacuumed.
- Clean up oxide spills immediately (see Figure 1).
- Use a ventilated scrap barrel for disposal of elements.
Scrap Handling Barrel/Drum Exhaust Hood
- Place, do not throw, elements into the scrap barrel.
- Cover barrel with plastic before moving.
- Open the container and disassemble it in a ventilated work area.
- Use caution while removing plates from the battery case.
- Remove plates cautiously to prevent a bellows effect.
- If a bellows effect occurs, vacuum up particulates immediately with a
central vacuum system or HEPA vacuum.
- Do not store materials on active work surfaces; they may interfere with
- Provide adequate PPE, a change of clothes, and shower rooms (see OSHA Lead Requirements for PPE, Housekeeping, and Hygiene Facilities).