The principal objective of a battery system safety program within the government is to assure that safety, consistent with mission requirements, is designed into battery systems, subsystems, equipment, facilities, and their interfaces. MIL-STD-882 is the primary reference to be utilized in accomplishing this objective. The success of the battery system safety effort depends on definitive statements of safety objectives and requirements by the managing activity and their translation into functional hardware. A formal safety program that stresses early hazard identification and elimination or reduction of associated risk to an acceptable level is the principal contribution of effective system safety.
Battery System Safety Requirements
The system safety program shall define a systematic approach to make sure:
- Safety, consistent with mission requirements, is designed into the battery system in a timely, cost-effective manner.
- Hazards associated with each battery system are identified, evaluated, and eliminated, or the associated risk reduced to a level acceptable throughout the life cycle. Risk shall be described in risk assessment terms.
- Historical safety data, including lessons learned from other battery systems, are considered and used.
- Minimum risk is sought in accepting and using new designs, materials, and production and test techniques.
- Actions taken to eliminate hazards or reduce risk to a level acceptable are documented.
- Retrofit actions required to improve safety are minimized through the timely inclusion of safety features during research and development and acquisition of a battery/system.
- Changes in design, configuration, or mission requirements are accomplished in a manner that maintains an acceptable risk level.
- Consideration is given to safety, ease of disposal, and demilitarization of any hazardous materials associated with the battery system.
- Significant safety data are documented as "lessons
learned." This data is to be submitted to data banks or proposed as changes
to applicable design handbooks and specifications.
The weight and size of large batteries can be hazardous to equipment and personnel when they are improperly handled. Battery handling includes the use of hoists or cranes when installing large batteries into a system. Personnel should wear safety shoes when handling batteries in the facility or when installing or removing the batteries from equipment.
Battery enclosures must be properly ventilated so that battery temperatures can be controlled. Do not charge a vented battery in a closed container. Proper ventilation will ensure that emissions from the cells do not raise gas concentrations above OSHA limits. Valve-regulated cells have virtually no emissions under normal operating conditions.
High-energy batteries are used in many applications because of their ability to deliver high current (sometimes more than 1000 amperes). This asset becomes a hazard when the terminals are shorted by a piece of jewelry or a tool. Therefore, to prevent shorting when handling these batteries, the terminals are protected by a connector cover or electrical tape. Care must be exercised when working on a battery with exposed conducting parts. All tools are taped or coated with insulation to prevent contact with exposed battery parts. The major hazard is not electrical shock because of the low voltage of these batteries (usually less than 35.0 volts). Burns resulting from the heat generated in the shorting metal are the major hazard.
Intercell connections and battery-to-load connections are appropriately insulated for the operating voltage of the system. This prevents accidental shorting or leakage to ground and provides for the safety of personnel.
Lithium Battery Safety Requirements
If lithium batteries are to be used, apply the
requirements of NAVSEAINST 9310.1B and S9310-AQ-SAF-010 (Technical Manual For
Batteries, Navy Lithium Safety Program Responsibilities and Procedures). See Section 9.7