Advances in technology, changes in behaviour, convenience, and environmental concerns, have caused an increase in demand for battery powered vehicles, tools, equipment and devices.
Whilst single use non-rechargeable batteries have been around for many years, there is a growing demand for more powerful and durable rechargeable batteries to power cars, work equipment, and the numerous personal devices we use in modern life such as mobile phones, laptops, e-scooters etc.
Rechargeable batteries eliminate most of the risks associated with electricity, but do present their own challenges and requirements when it comes to their safe use and handling.
Whilst the risks can vary between the differing types of battery powered vehicles and equipment, there are some common themes to safely managing them:
- Battery charging should be in a dedicated area of your premises kept free from combustible materials.
- Only use batteries and chargers specified by the manufacturer of the equipment. This will ensure that the battery charging commences at the right level and ceases before overcharging occurs.
- All batteries should be stored, charged and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Any battery that has been damaged, dropped, dented or pierced should be taken out of service immediately and disposed of safely.
- Many products contain lithium-ion batteries. These batteries should not be left on charge while unattended, or overcharged.
- Batteries and associated charging equipment should be regularly inspected for defects, wear and tear.
- Charging equipment should be installed by a suitably qualified electrician, and be subject to regular inspection and testing.
- Ensure your fire and health and safety risk assessments include battery charging and battery powered equipment.
For more information on managing risks associated with battery charging we have developed the suite of guidance notes below.