As batteries are energy storage devices, they are prone to make many threats to human life and safety. A short circuit is one of the common battery perils. The most important reason for short circuits is overcharging or over discharging. Other causes for cell short circuits include faulty separators, aggregation of lead particles or other metals between both the plates, buckling of the plates and excessive sediments in the bottom of the jar.
Another battery hazard is the generation of gasses. “Battery gassing” is a normal product of charging. Passage of electricity through water dissociates the water into hydrogen and oxygen. These are the gases that emanate from an open cell battery. When hydrogen reaches an intensity of 4% in air, it can be explosive. Therefore, it is essential that the area is well ventilated and there is no chance of open flame.
High-power lithium cells should be maintained with extreme care because a short circuit can lead to internal overheating thereby making an explosion or battery rupture. These lithium cells are more sensitive to physical stress than alkaline batteries and are commonly found in today’s cellular phones. Electrical burns, strains, and sprains are some of the common hazards that arise when servicing, charging, or jumping the common lead-acid battery. Lead-acid batteries can also cause danger when the acid spills out. For these types of batteries, the occurrence of short circuit while replacing can be minimized by disconnecting the earth lead first and replacing them last. One way to reduce battery hazards in a vehicle is to switch off all the vehicle electrical equipment before the charger leads are removed from the vehicle.