How do I safely handle my VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) battery? In this Blog, the Valen team cover several recommendations to ensure you are as protected as possible when handling your VRLA battery.
Shipping VRLA Batteries
The VRLA battery has no dangerous goods handling requirement because the electrolyte in the battery is immobilised. Therefore, the batteries are considered ”dry” or ”sealed” and maybe handled and shipped accordingly.
As VRLA batteries contain mostly Lead, it is important to bear in mind safe lifting techniques when handling these batteries. Never lift more weight than stated by your company’s workplace health and safety regulations.
Ensure correct lifting procedures and methods are used; reach out to the Valen team to discuss our range of safe lifting devices.
Damaged VRLA Batteries
VRLA batteries use lead-acid technology, and the battery is housed in a rugged plastic ABS casing. However, if the casing is damaged, the contents, including lead and sulphuric acid, will become exposed and pose the typical dangers associated with these materials.
Sulphuric acid can cause burns and serious injury if it comes in contact with your skin or eyes. In the event of contact with Sulphuric acid, flush thoroughly with water and seek medical attention immediately.
VRLA Battery Spill
Should there be an acid spill, check the area is safe and then rinse the contaminated area with plenty of clean water, using ½ kg of baking soda in 4 litres of water to neutralise any possible acid.
Kitchen dishwashing liquid in water also makes a good neutralising agent. Do not use cleaners or solvents on any part of the battery.
safe Handling of damaged VRLA batteries
Only handle damaged VRLA batteries when you have the correct PPE equipment, including rubber gloves, face masks, goggles etc.
A qualified technician should undertake all installation, maintenance and removal of VRLA batteries.
Disconnect all power before attempting to install, remove or perform maintenance work.
Do not tamper with any battery parts, including cover, vents, terminal covers, etc. Whilst these batteries are referred to as ”Sealed Lead Acid”, they are not strictly speaking ”sealed” as each cell may vent through valves at the top of the battery. These valves are generally not visible as manufacturers conceal them under a plastic cover plate.
Never charge or use batteries in an airtight space or container. Being VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) means that this battery technology has the ability to release a small amount of gas through the battery valve when under pressure from cycling or temperature. This gas consists of mostly hydrogen gas and can explode if ignited in a confined area or space. Therefore, keeping sparks, flame, or any other ignition source (including smoking materials) away from batteries is essential.
During scheduled maintenance, it is important to ensure that the batteries are kept clean and dry: a layer of moisture across the battery may cause accelerated discharge and result in over-discharge of the battery leading to premature malfunction.
Do not allow excessive dust to accumulate on the battery or cabling. Ensure battery connectors are clean, greased and tight using an insulated torque wrench. A loose connection can reduce battery standby time and cause battery fires.
Installation and Operation Manuals
Lastly and most importantly, refer to the manufacturer’s Installation & Operational manual prior to any work with VRLA batteries as there may be specific safety guidelines in addition to the basic outline above.
If you have any further questions on the safety of VRLA batteries, please reach out to the team today; we look forward to hearing from you!