Severity
Incident
Leak
Yes
Ignition
Yes

Incident Synopsis
During routine facility maintenance of an automatic battery charging system, 6 of 27 nickel cadmium batteries being reinstalled exploded.

Cause
Inadequate work procedures in that a probable cause was ignition of accumulated hydrogen gas by a spark generated during the replacement work, and inadequate ventilation of the battery area; a second probable cause was stopped up vent caps, resulting from contaminated electrolyte, which permitted hydrogen pressure build up to an explosive force in the 6 batteries.

 

Incident Date
Dec 31, 1969
Equipment
  • Ventilation System
  • Exhaust Fan
  • Batteries and Related Equipment
  • Batteries
Damage and Injuries
When Incident Discovered
Lessons Learned

Facilities housing battery charging systems need to ensure the ventilation systems are operational, and delivering enough outdoor air to properly ventilate the enclosure.
Operators need to be aware of safe practices and proper battery charging instructions for the nickel cadmium batteries they work on. This information needs to be disseminated to all of the technicians working on the batteries and battery charging systems.

Adequate ventilation of battery charging facilities is addressed in the Lessons Learned Corner on this website.