Jump-starting, testing or inspecting a vehicle battery without taking proper safety precautions could lead to a serious eye injury, warns Chicago-based Prevent Blindness America. To prevent such an accident, the organization recommends:
- Protect your eyes by using ANSI Z-87.1 splash-proof safety goggles when working on or near a battery.
- Never work on a battery near an open flame, such as a match, lighter or cigarette. Because batteries contain hydrogen and oxygen, a spark could ignite them, causing an explosion.
- Check the battery for damage, including cracks, corrosive materials and loose wires, at least once a month.
- Make sure your jumper cables are free from rust and corrosion, and have no exposed wires. Cables repaired with electrical tape are unsafe.
- Do not drop metallic objects on a battery, as a spark can ignite the gases.
- Never lean over the battery when jump-starting, testing or inspecting, even if you are wearing safety goggles.
- Squeezing the battery may cause the sulfuric acid stored inside the battery to spill through the vents. Always handle a battery with care, using a battery carrier when available.
- Dispose of auto batteries properly. Some service stations will dispose of old batteries for a nominal fee.