For a discussion of safety issues relevant to all
batteries refer to Section 3.8
The following equipment and facilities may be available for servicing
- Splash-proof goggles, face shields, rubber gloves, aprons, boots and
- An adequate water sources to neutralize/wash down inadvertent
- Eyewash and shower facilities
- Powered material handling equipment to load/unload heavy batteries
The electrolyte used in Ni/Cd batteries is a strong solution of potassium hydroxide that is alkaline and corrosive. Serious burns will result if electrolyte comes in contact with any part of the body. Rubber gloves, rubber apron, and protective goggles should be used when handling electrolyte. If the electrolyte gets on the skin, wash the affected areas with large quantities of water or take a shower immediately. Weak acids such as vinegar, citrus juice, or weak boric acid solution may be used following the water rinse. If electrolyte gets into the eyes, wash the eyes with water continuously for 15 minutes. Seek immediate medical attention.
Cadmium is a heavy metal and a suspected carcinogen. Care should be taken when working with it not to inhale or ingest the metal vapor or powder. The hazard is normally limited to the manufacturing facility where the plates are exposed. Once cells are assembled, there is very little chance of direct exposure.
Nickel powder is suspected of being a carcinogen and should be handled in the same manner as cadmium in the manufacturing process. As with the cadmium, once cells are assembled, there is no further fear of exposure until the battery is ready for disposal.
The gases generated in the nickel-cadmium battery are oxygen and hydrogen. In vented units, these gases need to be limited by proper charge control or eliminated by proper ventilation of the area where the batteries are being charged. In the sealed units, these gases can build up to the point that they will cause the battery/cell case to rupture, spewing electrolyte and electrodes out of battery case. This exposes people and equipment to hazards. These hazards can be controlled by limiting the amount and rate of recharge or by placing a high pressure vent in each cell before battery manufacture. However, installation of a vent defeats the value of using a sealed system.