Top 6 Products for Battery Acid Spill Prevention and Neutralization
“In my facility, we often see battery acid leaks, drips, and spills at our battery charging station. We know it’s incredibly dangerous to our employees, our facility and the environment, but what products and equipment would you recommend for cleaning a spill of this type?”
Let’s start by taking a step back: the best way to approach any spill is to prevent it from happening in the first place!
Follow directions. The first step to preventing battery acid spills is to follow the manufacturer’s filling, maintenance and care guidelines. After all, detailed instructions are there for a reason!
with containment. If a battery does become overfilled, containment will make a major difference on the outcome. Containment will protect your property and employees and will save you money, all by limiting the spill to a smaller area.
What We Recommend
Battery Acid-Resistant Trays
Store your batteries at all times on spill trays to contain any acid that escapes the batteries. Make sure the tray is designed to resist battery acid and is the appropriate size for your area to avoid taking up to much space or posing unnecessary tripping hazards.
with PPE. Obviously, PPE is vital to protecting your employee’s health and safety. While the OSHA general industry standards aren’t specific about PPE for battery charging stations, their Construction Standards are. According to 1926.441(a)(5):
"Face shields, aprons, and rubber gloves shall be provided for workers handling acids or batteries."
PPE requirements are also covered under OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment standards, where PPE is based on the function being performed and the associated hazards.
What We Recommend
Battery Handling PPE Kit
Cover all your bases (and acids!) with this convenient, mountable preassembled kit containing everything you need when handling or filling batteries.
The most common cleanup method for battery charging areas is neutralization. Neutralization is such a common practice that OSHA mentions it specifically in their Changing and Charging Storage Batteries 1910.178(g) regulations, 1910.178(g)(2):
“Facilities shall be provided for flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte, for fire protection, for protecting charging apparatus from damage by trucks, and for adequate ventilation for dispersal of fumes from gassing batteries.”
What is neutralization?
In a basic description, neutralization is the process of changing the pH of a water-based liquid to neutral or as close to neutral as possible. Liquids can neutralize other liquids, but it’s helpful in cleaning up battery acid spills if you use an absorbent material (like pads, for example) that also soaks up the acid while neutralizing it.
What happens when you neutralize a corrosive liquid?
During the neutralization process, a reaction occurs and can cause heat, off gas, sputtering and a spattering of the liquid. Both the amount and concentration of the corrosive liquid will affect how violent the reaction is. That’s why it’s important to only neutralize small spills (typically 500 milliliters to 1 liter or less).
What type of neutralizing absorbent do I need?
Selecting a neutralizing absorbent can be a daunting task because there are so many types to choose from. Each neutralizer, though, is actually designed for a specific application.
- Loose or Granular Neutralizing Absorbents are ideal for covering spills in tough-to-access places, like cracks, divots and uneven surfaces.
- Neutralizing Socks are best used for setting up a perimeter to keep spills contained in a smaller area.
- Neutralizing Pads and Pillows are useful for cleaning spills over a bigger area. These products have a larger surface area than the other types of neutralizing absorbents.
- Neutralizing Premoistened Wipers are designed to clean residues left behind after the cleaning process.
After your spill or leak has been cleaned, your job isn't over. The question becomes, “What do I do with the materials used to clean the leak or spill?” Proper-disposal regulations, known as the RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act), are an incredibly complex subject, so they require their own article. Fortunately, you can find that RCRA article by clicking right here.
Just remember: at a battery charging area, it's not a matter of if a spill will happen, only when, so stay ready. You can get fully prepared at newpig.com!