Lead battery manufacturers and recyclers strive to exceed OSHA standards and are continually advancing to protect employees, the community and the environment.
Every Day Commitment to Employee Safety
The lead battery industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the U.S., and the industry makes sure the community and employees are safe by providing progressive safety training, on-site hygiene facilities, modern safety equipment and advanced environmental technology.
Keeping our employees safe is ingrained in everything we do. As a testament to the industry’s commitment to the well-being of employees, lead battery manufacturing and recycling facilities’ health and safety goals are more stringent than federal requirements. As a result, many facilities lead the manufacturing industry in providing a safe workplace.
In addition to employee safety, being a good neighbor to the community is at the heart of the industry. That means operating responsibly, investing in advanced air quality controls, good environmental stewardship and continuing to abide by federal and state environmental regulations.
Safeguarding Our Employees
Lead battery manufacturing facilities operate in controlled environments with elaborate networks of ventilation and negative air pressure systems to capture any lead particles that might otherwise escape to the outside environment. These particles are captured in fine particle air filters where they are collected and properly recycled. These advanced air safety systems are made possible by the experience gained from many years of manufacturing lead batteries worldwide. In addition, voluntary agreements between lead battery manufacturers and OSHA have systematically reduced worker exposure to lead hazards.
To keep microscopic particles of airborne lead emissions to a minimum, manufacturers and recyclers use high-efficiency air filters and wet scrubbers to filter plant air before it is released into the atmosphere. The filters are inspected and replaced regularly. The filters also are equipped with alarms, and the process is shut down or re-routed should a filter tear or break.
Using Advanced Controls
Lead battery manufacturers and recyclers use advanced processes, protocols and equipment to control lead release:
Manufacturers and recyclers capture and treat process water to keep lead out of streams and rivers. The water is tested before it is released to be certain it meets clean water standards.
At recycling plants, air monitors are installed at the perimeter of each property to make sure any lead in the air is below the allowable limit. The limit is .15 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air, three month rolling average. This is an extremely conservative limit. To illustrate just how stringent this requirement is, OSHA says a worker inside a plant may be safe even if exposed to 50 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air every day.
Children can be exposed to lead when a parent who works at a lead plant carries dust home on shoes or work clothes, or in the worker’s hair. OSHA regulations require workers in high-lead-exposure areas of the plant to leave work clothes and shoes there and to shower and wash their hair before going home. They also require workers in high-lead areas of the plant to wear a respirator, a device that filters lead particles out of the air a worker breathes. Education programs train workers to wash thoroughly before eating or smoking during lunch or breaks, and to practice other habits that safeguard their health.
Plants have a regular program of exterior vacuuming or washing down paved areas and capturing and treating rainwater runoff. Vehicles that transport lead products typically are hosed down before leaving a facility so that any dust on tires or the vehicle body is not carried to public roads.
Making Employee Safety Training Fun
Crown Battery has built workplace safety into its culture, systems and facilities, and emphasizes safety training year round. But the company adds a layer of fun during OSHA’s annual Safe and Sound Week. Employees scan QR codes on posters to access questions on safety topics and compete for prizes in a scavenger hunt trivia game.
Read how Crown Battery is using creativity to get employees engaged in safety.