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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Safety Idea

Battery Safety

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: Underground Coal
Category: Fire Safety

When multiple batteries are utilized in an operation, marking them for rotational purposes can reduce the potential for battery fires and increase battery life. Numerous battery fires have occurred at the charging station or while the batteries are being used because of poor rotation procedures.

The battery industry recommends a general procedure of charging and cooling batteries before use.

Photo of rotational scheme

A simple system for a 3-shift operation where three batteries are used, would be to use the battery on the first shift marked "1" while charging the battery from the third shift marked "3" and allowing the second shift battery "2" to cool. When the second shift comes on, the "1" battery goes on charge, the "3" battery cools, and the "2" battery is used to power the machine. The same rotational scheme would be used for the third shift, and continued.

A different system could be developed for operations that use less than 3 batteries or for longer working shifts. If batteries are not cooled prior to using, a greater potential for fire exists and the battery life is reduced. Therefore, battery rotation not only provides a safer work environment, it saves money too.

Proper rotation can reduce accidents and injuries.

Reissued: 04/30/2002
Tag # AP2002-S020