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Personal Injury (e-cigarette battery explosion)

The club was recently notified of a personal injury incident after a crew member suffered severe burns to his right leg when a spare e-cigarette battery carried in his coverall overheated & exploded. The keys carried in the same pocket most likely caused the short circuit.

Most e-cigarettes are powered by a lithium-ion battery which can pose a fire hazard if overheated from an outside heat source such as direct sunlight, a phenomenon commonly known as ‘thermal runaway’. Contact with metal objects such as coins, keys or jewelry could lead to short circuit, fire or even explosion.

The hazards associated with lithium-ion batteries were previously highlighted in the club’s web alert (here). The lithium-ion batteries used to power e-cigarette vaporizers are small and powerful. When they fail, the results can be disastrous.

It is strongly recommended to avoid carriage of e-cigarettes and/or spare e-cigarette batteries whilst on duty. Other safety tips for e-cigarette users are stated below –

1. Only use the charger supplied with the e-cigarette kit – other chargers may cause problems with incompatible battery types.
2. Avoid overcharging – by ensuring that it is not left unattended while charging.
3. Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures.
4. Replace batteries if they become wet or damaged.
5. Store loose batteries in a case – keep them away from metal objects.
Source: The Standard Club

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