Lithium-ion battery safety

In any case of emergency contact 000 immediately. For more information on what to do in case of fire or explosion contact your local fire agency.

About lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are a type of rechargeable battery that power almost all:

  • laptops
  • mobile phones
  • e-bikes
  • e-scooters
  • power banks
  • power tools
  • cordless equipment.

Lithium-ion batteries are the most common batteries used in rechargeable devices. This is due to their:

  • small size
  • high energy density
  • better power efficiency than other battery types.

Lithium-ion batteries are more dangerous than traditional batteries because of their chemical components.

Risks when using lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are highly flammable.

They can cause fires and explosions leading to:

  • property damage
  • serious injuries
  • deaths.

Lithium-ion batteries can catch fire or explode if they're incorrectly:

  • manufactured
  • handled
  • stored
  • disposed of.

A lithium-ion battery fire is very difficult to extinguish as it may reignite and sometimes takes days to extinguish.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) saw a 92% increase in reports of incidents and fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in the 5 years to 2022.

How to safely use lithium-ion batteries

It is important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Buying products

Always:

  • buy products that contain lithium-ion batteries from a known supplier
  • follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Never:

  • directly import products that contain lithium-ion batteries or replacement lithium-ion batteries from overseas.

Handling and storing a lithium-ion battery product

Always:

  • store lithium-ion batteries and equipment, like electric scooters, in cool dry places out of direct sunlight
  • allow the lithium-ion battery to cool after use and before recharging
  • only buy replacement batteries from the original supplier.

Never:

  • use lithium-ion batteries, products or chargers that are showing signs of failure such as:
    • overheating
    • swelling
    • leaking
    • emitting an odour.
  • leave lithium-ion batteries or products in hot places such as in parked vehicles
  • repurpose batteries from one product to another.

Charging a lithium-ion battery

Always:

  • use chargers supplied or recommended by the product manufacturer
  • ensure the battery charger has the regulatory compliance mark:
A regulatory compliance mark graphic, showing a tick or check mark in a broken circle within a rounded triangle, all in black.
  • check devices while they are charging
  • unplug products and chargers when the battery is fully charged
  • charge lithium-ion batteries or products on a non-flammable surface, such as concrete, ceramic, or steel
  • check that chargers are not physically damaged.

Never:

  • mix and match chargers and products containing lithium-ion batteries
  • leave lithium-ion batteries or products unattended for long periods while charging
  • charge lithium-ion batteries or products on a flammable surface such as a bed, sofa, blanket or curtains
  • charge your equipment in a bedroom or an area that might block your exit
  • use a charger if it appears damaged.

Disposing of a lithium-ion battery product

For information about where and how to dispose of used batteries, see:

More information

ACCC report into lithium-ion batteries

The ACCC has released a report Lithium-ion batteries - Issues paper(opens in a new window)

This paper examines:

  • the current lithium-ion battery market and regulatory landscape
  • the risks and hazards in the lithium-ion battery life cycle
  • available incident data.

The report makes a series of recommendations to improve lithium-ion battery safety outcomes.

Key recommendations include:

  • enhancing consumer awareness on lithium-ion battery risks
  • advocating for change to the electrical safety framework
  • expanding data collection around hazards posed by lithium-ion batteries
  • promoting lithium-ion battery disposal and recycling options.

Reporting incidents

We encourage the community to report incidents or injuries involving lithium-ion batteries:

Lodge an incident report(opens in a new window)

Date: 30/05/2024 2:46

The currency and accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed once printed or saved to a storage device. If in doubt, please check the Energy Safe Victoria website for the current version.

Reviewed