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Lessons Learned By Ginny Whelan

Hybrid Batteries – Essential Element of Training

he new Automotive Recycler’s Guide to Hybrid Batteries was developed by the ARA Educational Foundation and will soon be in the ARA Store at This is an essential guide for all auto recy- clers to have and use for their team train- ing. Below is an excerpt of the manual to illustrate the important information to which recyclers will now have access.


Personnel Training and Safety Considerations

Personnel Training

• Proper training begins with a gener- al awareness class/training manual. • Safety training comes next and should be attended by EVERYONE who will be in contact with either the HEVs/EVs or the HV battery packs.

• OEM training is always a good plan. • Lead technicians wishing to perform many of the advanced procedures in this manual should strive to become ASE L3 (Hybrid Specialist) certified. This is a dif- ficult test but manageable with a good ASE Test Prep manual/video program to assist in the tutoring process.

Safety Considerations We’ve all been “shock- ed” whether from static electricity, an ignition sys- tem, or household elec- trical fault. The sensation of electrical shock de- pends on the current type (AC or DC) as well as frequency for AC. The average person can feel at least 1 mARMS of AC at 60 Hz, and currents of at least 5 mA for DC. At around 10 mA, AC current passing through the arm of a 150 pound person can cause powerful muscle con-

18 Automotive Recycling | September-October 2016

tractions; the victim is unable to volun- tarily control muscles and cannot release an electrified object. This is known as the "let go threshold" and is the basis for shock hazard in electrical regulations. It does NOT take very much current at all on a HEV/EV to inflict serious harm or even death if safety practices are NOT adhered to! (See chart below)

Factors That Contribute to Electrical Injury Current: The higher the current, the more likely it is lethal. Since current is proportional to voltage when resistance is fixed (ohm’s law), high voltage is an indi- rect risk for producing higher currents. Duration: The longer the duration, the more likely it is lethal – safety switches may limit time of current flow. Pathway: If current flows through the heart muscle, it is more likely to be lethal. High voltage (over about 600 volts): In addition to greater current flow, high volt- age may cause dielectric breakdown at the skin, thus lowering skin resistance and allowing further increased current flow. Electrical burns often burn from the inside out. The trauma from a high volt-

Live training is the best— most technicians are visual learners. Training should be hands on if possible including live vehicles to work on.

age injury can sometimes lead to limb amputation.

Many electrocution wounds have an

entry and an exit spot similar to gunshot wounds.

Never work alone – always have some- one near by who can assist you if you are injured working on a high voltage circuit. Always remove jewelry and watches when working around electricity (even 12-volts)

If someone is shocked, turn off the volt- age source, call 911 for help and admin- ister CPR if victim is not breathing.

Always Practice the Live, Dead, Live Test Test something that IS live ... Something like a 12V battery to make sure your meter is working. Then test the HV circuit you are wanting to test. Then go back to the known good live item test- ed to make sure your meter is still work- ing properly.

Practice the One Hand Rule

Instead of having both hands on the vehicle’s HV cables/components, use an alligator clip with one hand to secure one lead, then use that same hand keep- ing the other hand away from the HV area.

Ginny Whelan, an ARA Past President, is Man- aging Director of the ARA Educational Founda- tion and founder of the ARA University, the leading Web-based training resource in auto re- cycling education. Visit

Chart Courtesy of OSHA

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