Safety alert issued after lithium-ion battery explodes

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 13 February, 2022 - 09:15
Policy & legislation
National News
Northern Territory

NT WorkSafe has issued a safety alert after being notified that a vehicle had been damaged from a lithium-ion battery explosion.

A cordless impact wrench with the battery attached was left on the back seat of a work vehicle when it exploded. The explosion ignited other material left on the seat and severely damaged the interior of the vehicle.

Lithium-ion batteries have become an integral part of modern society, powering mobile phones, laptops and power tools, however, NT WorkSafe’s director of technical services, Anthony Waite said the incident is a timely reminder for everyone about the potential dangers the batteries pose if they are not stored correctly.

“Lithium-ion batteries are classified as a dangerous good, under the Australian dangerous goods code,” Waite said.

“This means there are specific requirements to package, store and transport these types of batteries and the devices and equipment they are found in due to the potential dangers the batteries pose.

“The main message we have is not to leave or store lithium-ion batteries in hot areas or in direct sunlight, as they can explode and cause a fire risk in your business or home.

“Fortunately, in this incident, the vehicle was unoccupied and no-one was injured,” Waite said.