OSH Procedures At
It can be agreed upon that the battery manufacturing process presents many potential hazardous conditions for individuals. Therefore it is of great importance that the correct proactive safety procedures be followed at all times in order to bring risks ALARP, (as low as reasonably possible). With that out of the way, the rest of this discussion shall be geared towards examining some of these procedures in which the company, U.S.Battery, has implemented under the various categories such as Manual handling / Lifting, Electricity, and Chemical. Now without further ado.
Manual handling at work
Manual Handling Operation Regulations of 1992 applies to a wide range of activities which includes lifting, lowering, pushing or carrying material. The load may either be animate, which refers to people, or inanimate, such as boxes or trolleys. When assessing a lifting operation, the following factors must be taken into consideration; the load weight, your hand distance from your lower back, vertical lifting regions, trunk twisting, postural constraint, grip on load, floor surface, environmental factors and other individual risk factors.
If manual handling is done incorrect it may cause numerous injuries to employees. Under the regulations employees are required to avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, assess the risk of injury from any hazardous handling and reduce the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling as far as reasonably practicable. This would allow manual handling to be done safely.
With respect to U.S.Battery, it appears to have acknowledged these risks as their implementation of OSH procedures, such as the mandatory wearing of back-straps for example, coupled with the use of technology where possible, seeks to mitigate this risk as low as possible throughout the packaging and moving around process.
Additional safety procedures in place;
- The lifting method used when stacking the batteries on the pallet is demonstrated to workers beforehand. (Employing Education- one of the 3 E’s in safety)
2. Pallet stacking technology
3. Use of shrink wrapping machine – Using technology to assist with manual lifting
4. Use of a pallet jack to move stacked batteries if forklift is not immediately available
5. Floor surface are noted as being kept level as possible for efficient use of both equipment and to reduce the chance of a fall.
The battery manufacturing process involves the use of much electrical equipment, ranging from the lighting used for illuminating the work place, to the mechanical robots that are used test the charge of the batteries. All of which present a potentially dangerous situation, however, emphasis should be placed on one process in particular, the charging process. This is where lines of batteries are laid down in what is also referred to as the charging room. To enable the rapid charging of these batteries, they are placed in a chiller or water bath, which keeps the batteries close to below freezing temperature. All in an effort to prevent the battery from overheating during the rapid charging process.
As a result, the employees working in direct relation to this process are obligated to;
1. Wear PPE such as gloves and safety boots/shoes that are shock proof and meet the industries standard of ISO 20345:2011, overalls to protect ones skin, and a respirator as the gasses emitted while charging are noted as being toxic.
- Ensure that the negative and positive clamps being connected to the battery terminals are not live.
- No employee is to touch or shift any charging clamps after the charging process has begun as it may result in serious injury or death. Often, a lockout-system is implemented on the machinery during the charging process, preventing individuals from being able to come in contact.
(It cannot be confirmed however whether or not U.S.Battery possesses this lockout-system on machinery as the information was not present / available)
It should be noted that failing to adhere to safe working practices can result in many man hours being lost through injury, and in extreme circumstances, death. Thus electrical hazards are one of the most dangerous and high risk hazards present.
Aside from what is noted as being implemented in the company, there are a number of ways to prevent these electrical risks. Some of the ways which can protect employees that was not found under research are;
1. The supervisor of the designated charging area must be constantly walking around to ensure that safe practices are being observed
2. Employees must understand the level of danger and risk they expose themselves to when not observing safe work practices. (Education- one of the 3 E’s in safety)
- Having a trained safety officer that ensures that the supervisor of the charging room is as well adhering to the required safe working practices as well promoting safety.
In the process of battery manufacturing, some of the key elements have to be the use of Sulfuric Acid Electrolyte, composed of distilled water and pure sulfuric acid, along with leg composites, for the use of constructing the batteries’ cells. Thus when dealing with chemicals of this nature, a full area of PPE is mandatory for everyone involved in this process that may have a chance of exposure. Overall body suits, along with Nitrile Industrial gloves, facial shields and respirators are just a few of the protection requirements needed to prevent any chemicals coming in to contact with an employees, given the large number of ways in which chemicals can enter the body. (In other words; skin, eyes or respiratory track, genitalia, etc.)
Reese C. Occupational Health and Safety Management. Hoboken: CRC Press; Pages 93,105 & 125.
Alli B. Fundamental Principles of Occupational Health and Safety. Washington: International Labour Office; 2008. Page 172.
Reese C. Occupational Health and Safety Management. Hoboken: CRC Press; Pages 109 & 174.
Reese C. Occupational Health and Safety Management. Hoboken: CRC Press; Pages 94 & 172.
- Pictures / screen shots/ manufacturing process –
- Information about batteries –
- Safety equipment –
- S.Battery website / manufacturing process –