This document aims to provide practical guidance to insurers and their clients on fire hazards and appropriate control measures associated with the selection, storage, charging and use of batteries in commercial and industrial premises. The batteries considered range from those used in small and hand-held appliances to large packs providing power for vehicles.
The rapidly increasing range of items of portable electrical equipment, coupled with advances in technology and changes in social behaviour have created an increasing demand for mobile power sources. These are most conveniently provided in the form of batteries. Rechargeable batteries are to be found in mobile phones, laptops and tablet computers, satellite navigation equipment, radios, torches and for many other applications. Numerous incidents worldwide have been associated with batteries causing smoke, fire, extreme heat or explosions on passenger and cargo planes (a significant number of which have been associated with lithium ion batteries). Most failures have been the result of inappropriate packaging or handling, which caused damage or electrical short circuits.