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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 16. Control of Hazardous Substances
Article 109. Hazardous Substances and Processes

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§5185. Changing and Charging Storage Batteries.

(a) In addition to the requirements below, the changing and charging of batteries shall comply with applicable requirements of Section 5184.
(b) Battery charging installations shall be located in areas designated for that purpose. Employees assigned to work with storage batteries shall be qualified employees and shall be instructed in emergency procedures.
(c) Where storage batteries capable of venting flammable gas or corrosive mist are installed or charged, the space shall be ventilated by natural or mechanical means to prevent concentrations of flammable gases from exceeding 20% of the lower explosive limit of the gas, and harmful levels of mist from the electrolyte.
(d) Where corrosive liquids are handled or can potentially be released, means shall be provided to neutralize or dispose of spills and overflows.
(e) When dispensing or sampling electrolyte, only devices specifically designed for such activities shall be used.
(f) Electrolyte (acid or base, and distilled water) for battery cells shall be mixed in a well-ventilated room. Acid or base shall be poured gradually into the water while stirring. Water shall never be poured into concentrated (greater than 75 percent) acid solutions.
(g) When taking specific gravity readings, the open end of the hydrometer shall be covered with an acid resistant material while moving it from battery to battery to avoid splashing or throwing the electrolyte.
(h) Electrolyte shall only be placed in suitable containers and shall not be stirred with metal objects.
(i) Facilities shall be provided for protecting charging apparatus from damage by mobile equipment. Mobile equipment shall be properly positioned and brake applied before attempting to change or charge batteries.
(j) Mechanical lifting and material handling devices or equipment shall be provided for handling batteries.
(k) Smoking shall be prohibited in the charging area.
(l) Precautions shall be taken to prevent static discharge, open flames, sparks, short circuits, or electric arcs in areas where batteries are charged. When racks are used for support of batteries, they shall be made of materials nonconductive to spark generation or coated or covered to achieve this objective. Tools and other metallic objects shall be kept away from the top of uncovered batteries. Chargers shall be turned off when leads are being connected or disconnected.
(m) When charging batteries with vent caps, the vent caps shall be kept firmly in place to avoid electrolyte spray. The battery compartment cover(s) shall be open to dissipate heat.
(n) Facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided in accordance with Section 5162 unless the storage batteries are:
(1) equipped with explosion resistant or flame arrestor type vents; or
(2) located in a compartment or other location such as to preclude employee exposure.
EXCEPTIONS: to Subsection (n): Automotive servicing facilities and parts stores where:
1. A suitable neutralizing agent is available, and
2. An adequate supply of clean water is readily available, and
3. The transfer system is essentially a closed system and does not involve handling acid in open containers.
(o) When a jumper battery is connected to a battery in a vehicle, the ground lead shall connect to ground away from the vehicle's battery. Ignition, lights and accessories on the vehicle shall be turned off before connections are made.
(p) Vent caps shall be in place when batteries are being moved.
EXCEPTIONS: to Subsection (p): Portable equipment battery systems:
Batteries and battery charging equipment of less than 100 watt hours are exempt.
(q) Personal protective equipment shall be provided in accordance with Section 3380.
Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.
1. New section filed 2-13-75; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 75, No. 7).
2. Repealer of subsections (i) and (n) and new subsections (i), (n), (o), (p), and (q) filed 11-12-75; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 75, No. 46).
3. Amendment of subsections (k) and (l) filed 10-5-77; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 77, No. 41).
4. Renumbering of Section 5214 to Section 5185 filed 5-3-78 as procedural and organizational; effective upon filing (Register 78, No. 18).
5. Amendment of subsection (h) and new subsections (r) and (s) filed 12-12-84; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 84, No. 50).
6. Amendment filed 7-8-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 28).
7. Amendment filed 7-30-2015; operative 10-1-2015 (Register 2015, No. 31).
8. Editorial correction of subsections (n)(2) and (p) (Register 2016, No. 2).

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