I will try to answer this question as direct as possible. “What Is The Hazard Class Of Automotive Battery“?
What Is The Hazard Class Of Automotive Battery?
The automotive battery are classed into two (2) major hazard classes, that is the Class 8 and Class 9 categories. Lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries fall into the Class 9 category which is miscellaneous. Lead-acid batteries are Class 8 category – corrosive.
But the question is now, why are automotive battery categorized as hazardous material. This will take us to – What are hazardous materials?
What Are Hazardous Materials
In a lay man term, we can say that an hazardous material is any material that can pose danger to health, safety or the environment.
However, US Department of Transport defines an hazardous material thus:
A substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and has designated as hazardous under section 5103 of Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5103). The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (see 49 CFR 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in part 173 of this subchapter.”
Hazardous materials can be classified as one of the following:
- Flammable cryogen
- Flammable gas
- Flammable solid
- Ignitible (flammable or combustible) liquid
- Organic peroxide
- Oxidizing cryogen
- Unstable (reactive)
- Water-reactive material
- Highly toxic
- Corrosive material, etc.
Why are automotive battery categorized as hazardous material
Automotive batteries are mostly lead-acid batteries; either wet cell (also known as flooded) batteries or absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries. Both use alternating lead and other material plates and are filled with an electrolyte solution that contains sulfuric acid. The lead and sulfuric acid are hazardous materials that need to be disposed of at the proper facilities; they are too dangerous to simply throw in the trash.
As stated at the beginning of this article, lead-acid batteries falls into hazard class (8) because the sulphuric acid in lead-acid batteries can cause irreparable damage to human skin, and has a high rate of corrosion on steel. Hybrid and electric vehicles often use lithium-ion batteries, which fall into hazard class (9) (Miscellaneous dangerous substances).
Hazard class 9 includes materials that pose a transport risk but do not easily fit into the first 8 categories. In addition to the lithium-ion battery class 9, it also includes dry ice, some first aid kits and fuel cell engines.
In summary, battery has been categorized as hazardous material by the US department of Transport because of the risk it could pose to health, safety and environment.
Safe Handling of Automotive Battery
Handling an automotive battery requires careful attention to safety precautions to prevent accidents, injuries, and damage to the vehicle or surrounding environment. Here is a list of safety precautions for handling an automotive battery:
1. Wear Appropriate Protective Gear: Always wear safety goggles, gloves, and appropriate clothing to protect your eyes and skin from acid splashes and chemical exposure.
2. Work in a Well-Ventilated Area: Ensure there is adequate ventilation to disperse any potentially harmful gases that may be emitted during battery charging or maintenance.
3. Turn Off the Vehicle: Before working on the battery, turn off the engine, headlights, and all electrical accessories to avoid sparks and electrical hazards.
4. Disconnect the Negative Terminal First: When removing the battery, always disconnect the negative (black) terminal first to minimize the risk of short circuits and sparks.
5. Use the Correct Tools: Use insulated tools and wrenches specifically designed for battery work to prevent accidental electrical contact.
6. Inspect for Damage: Check the battery for visible damage or leaks. If you notice any, do not touch the battery, and seek professional assistance.
7. Avoid Smoking and Open Flames: Do not smoke or use open flames near the battery, as hydrogen gas emitted during charging can be highly flammable.
8. Handle with Care: Lift the battery carefully, using your legs and not your back, to avoid strain or injury.
9. Charge in a Safe Location: When charging the battery, use a charger designed for automotive batteries, and place it on a stable, non-flammable surface.
10. Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for charging and maintenance.
11. Avoid Overcharging: Do not overcharge the battery, as it can lead to gas buildup and potential explosion.
12. Dispose of Old Batteries Properly: Recycle old batteries at designated recycling centers or automotive stores, as they contain hazardous materials.
13. Emergency Eyewash and Shower: If working with lead-acid batteries, have access to an emergency eyewash station and shower in case of contact with battery acid.
By adhering to these safety protocols, you can reduce the risks associated with the handling of automotive batteries and create a more secure working environment for you and others. Always take the necessary precautions and seek professional advice if you are uncertain about any part of the battery maintenance or replacement process.