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 specific OSHA standards for general industry.