Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

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OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

May 5, 1977

Mr. William Rubenzer
Storage Battery Service Co. Inc.
106 E. Melvina St.
Milwaukee, Wisc. 53212


Subject:    1910.178(g) Changing and Charging Storage Batteries

Reference: Your memo of 4/21/77

Dear Mr. Rubenzer:

The standards are silent on the material to be used, or not to be used. (g)(4) - A conveyor, overhead hoist, or equivalent material handling equipment shall be provided for handling batteries.

(g)(3) states that when racks are used for support of batteries, they should be made of a material nonconductive to spark generation or be coated or covered to achieve this objective.

The source of the Federal Standard is ANSI B56.1 1969 Powered Industrial Truck and NFPA 505-1969. In reviewing the 1975 revision of NFPA 505 Section 4.3 charging and changing storage batteries "chain hoists shall be equipped with load-chain containers. When hand hoist is used, uncovered batteries shall be covered with a sheet of plywood or other nonconducting material to prevent the hand chain from shorting on cell connectors or terminals. A properly insulated spreader bar shall be used with any overhead hoist". The above section also appears in the source standard.

Although the above section was not promulgated as an OSHA Standard, it is a consensus of the writers of the NFPA Standard that, a properly insulated spreader bar shall be used with any overhead hoist, whether the battery is covered or not.

Please feel free to call us at anytime. 800-621-0523


Assistant Regional Administrator
for Technical Support