ISSA Webinar: Let's talk about OSH – Have you ever faced a lithium-ion battery fire emergency?

9 October 2023 | Virtual

ISSA Webinar: Let's talk about OSH – Have you ever faced a lithium-ion battery fire emergency?

9 October 2023 | Virtual

Monday 9 October 2023, 16:00-16:45 (UTC/GMT+2 or CEST)

Languages: Simultaneous interpretation in English, French, German and Spanish (Simultaneous interpretation – Frequently asked questions)

Lithium-ion batteries and accumulators have become ubiquitous in our modern world, powering everything from smartphones to electric vehicles. But their inherent risks cannot be underestimated.

To start with, lithium-ion batteries are prone to thermal runaway – a chain reaction of overheating that can lead to fires and explosions that cannot be stopped once started. This is due to their highly reactive lithium content, which can ignite if the battery is punctured, damaged, overcharged, or exposed to extreme temperatures. The pressure build-up during thermal runaway can also lead to the battery bursting, releasing hazardous chemicals. Additionally, the electrolyte inside lithium-ion batteries is typically flammable, adding to the fire hazard. The various reports of burned-out electric cars testify that lithium-ion batteries are challenging to extinguish once ignited, requiring specialized fire suppression techniques. Handling damaged or faulty batteries, improper storage, or inadequate transportation precautions can all escalate the risks observed in the case of the Fremantle Highway cargo ship that caught fire in July 2023.

Given the prevalence of lithium-ion batteries in our lives, prioritizing their safe handling is crucial for protecting both workers and the public from potentially catastrophic consequences.


Thomas Volkmer Thomas Volkmer, Fire Safety Expert, Labour Inspector and Head of the Wiesbaden Prevention Centre of BG ETEM, Germany
Stefan Sauerbier Stefan Sauerbier, Senior Director Network Control Group – Restricted Commodities, DHL Express Europe – Dangerous Goods and Live Animal Transport, Germany

This webinar will examine the following questions:

  • What makes working with lithium-ion batteries so challenging and potentially dangerous?
  • What can we do in general to make working with lithium-ion batteries safer?
  • What are examples of best practices of safe working procedures that help minimize the risk of working with lithium-ion batteries?


  • Welcome by Marcelo Abi-Ramia Caetano, ISSA Secretary General
  • Practical experience of BG ETEM, Germany
  • Practical experience of DHL Express Europe, Germany
  • Q&A – Discussion
  • Conclusions
Bernd Treichel Moderated by Bernd Treichel, Senior Technical Specialist in Social Security (Prevention), ISSA

Practical information

The webinar is open to delegates of ISSA member organizations and invited institutions as well as all persons interested in the topic without registration fees.