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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
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can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

9 Volt Battery Myths And Facts

Battery myths. Can 9 volt batteries start fires, and how do you avoid them? Can 9 volt batteries fatally shock you? We peel away fiction, reveal the truth.

Facilities and vehicles can burn down, all because a 9 volt battery was unsafely stored. Even partially charged batteries can put property and people at risk. Hear how to properly store and use 9 volt batteries in this podcast.

Dan Clark also tells of the conflict between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NFPA on batteries. They give opposite advice on how to dispose of used or spent batteries 9 volt batteries.

Finally, Dan reveals the truth about the 9 volt battery and your tongue.

National Fire Protection Assoc.


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Dan Clark: 9 volt batteries, hard at work in two-way radios and smoke detectors. But can these rectangular rascals start a fire or shock you dead? Let’s separate myth from fact.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

9 volt batteries. They’re still called “transistor” batteries by some manufacturers. Can they start a fire? Yes. It’s a fact.

When 9 volt batteries are stored, cover the contacts. Loose in a junk drawer, glovebox, or map pocket, they could come in contact with a paperclip, gum wrapper, or other metal, and short-circuit. The short circuit generates heat.

When you replace batteries in smoke detectors, two way radios and some other devices, the old ones are probably not fully spent. Often these partially charged batteries, along with the dead ones, are stuffed into a recycling bag, co-mingled with metals. So, even partially charged batteries should have covered contacts when stored, recycled or trashed.

video on 9 volt battery flare up:

9_Volt_Battery_Myths-Creative_Safety_Supply-600x188What about dead 9 volt batteries? To recycle, the U.S. Department of Transportation says you don’t need to cover the contacts. They say used or spent batteries “with a marked rating up to 9 volt are not likely to generate a dangerous quantity of heat, short-circuit, or create sparks in transportation.”

9_Volt_Battery_Myths-Creative_Safety_Supply-600x62However, the National Fire Protection Association—the NFPA—says even used or spent batteries contacts should be covered for disposal or recycling.

Recycling companies think the NFPA’s advice is unnecessary and in conflict with the Department of Transportation. And, it adds extra waste to the recycling stream. Use a meter or tester to make sure the battery is fully dead.

Now, onto the next myth. There’s a 9 volt battery internet rumor about people sticking their tongue on battery contacts and dying. Rumor has it that there’s a certain number of deaths each year from victims licking 9 volt batteries. This is totally untrue. I’m sure you guessed that.

To kill a person, an electrical shock has to pass through the heart causing arrhythmia. Even if it entered the body, a 9 volt current is not strong enough to cause arrhythmia. But also, it never actually enters the body. Lick a 9 volt battery. That tingle comes from current zipping between the positive and negative terminals across your wet tongue.

That’s all for this episode on 9 Volt Battery Myths And Facts. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off of your entire order at with coupon code SAFETYBRIEF. That’s one word, SAFETYBRIEF.


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