Up to One-Fifth of Battery Handlers/Sorters May Be Untrained, Putting Workers at Risk

14 Feb 2019

One-fifth of battery handlers and sorters surveyed did not receive or provide battery sorting training for new employees, placing their ability to properly sort and manage spent batteries in question and potentially putting lead battery recyclers’ employees at risk. Battery Council International (BCI) released a lithium battery training toolkit to aid lead battery sorters and handlers in identifying lithium batteries.

The lead battery recycling process was uniquely designed for lead batteries; it is one of the core drivers of lead batteries’ over 99 percent recycling rate. However, when lithium batteries enter the lead battery recycling stream, they pose a serious threat to lead battery recyclers’ employees and equipment. This is because lithium batteries can explode when they are crushed during the lead battery recycling process.

The lithium battery training toolkit project began in January 2018 when BCI surveyed 123 battery sorters and handlers and found that 21% of respondents did not provide or receive battery sorting training for new employees. The organization also learned that 5% of respondents did not know the difference between a lead and a lithium battery. BCI’s Marketing Committee created a Lithium Training Subcommittee comprised of 19 industry professionals; the goal is to decrease and ultimately eliminate lithium batteries from entering the lead battery recycling stream.

“The toolkit is an easily accessible set of materials that allows people to learn about the differences between lead and lithium batteries,” says Bruce Murray, chair of BCI’s Lithium Training Subcommittee and vice president of sales for RSR Corporation. “The lead battery sorters and handlers are the first line of defense, and if we can ensure they have the tools they need for success, then I believe it will help safeguard other members of the industry.”

The video is designed to be incorporated into companies’ onboarding programs and learning management systems (LMS). There are also complementary electronic flyer and poster files available on BCI’s website. The graphics reinforce the three main differences between lead and lithium batteries – weight, terminals and labels. Users are encouraged to take the files to their local printer and showcase them in their facilities for employee reference. BCI members have worked diligently to produce materials that promote safety throughout the industry, and use of these visual aids in conjunction with the video provide a thoughtful, holistic approach to employee training.

Monday, February 18 is National Battery Day, and BCI is encouraging industry members to share the video link on their company’s social media page using #LithiumTraining. “We want to spread the word about this important resource with as many people as possible. We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved over the past year,” say Kevin Moran, BCI’s executive vice president.

Battery Council International | http://www.batterycouncil.org