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Tradition vs Safety – How your safety procedures should have changed to handle EVs and hybrids

Chad Counselman, owner of consulting company – Wise Counsel Group LLC, and Einstein Tools, a software business based in the US, provides Auto Recycling World with his insight on the safe handling of EVs and HEVs and why auto recyclers must already have a safety procedure in place, especially as we begin to see more of this new breed of vehicle entering our yards.


Tradition vs Safety - How your safety procedures should have changed to handle EVs and hybrids p
Chad Counselman

A few months ago, I was at an auto recycling facility to help them implement some changes to grow their business. As we walked through the facility, I spotted several hybrid batteries on a pallet in the mechanical storage area. I walked over to the units to make a couple of points to the owner that related to storage techniques, mixing chemistries, etc. As I walked toward them, I noticed that the primary leads coming out of one of the batteries had been cut by bolt cutters or another type of wire cutter. This alarmed me, and I commented on the proper techniques and tools needed to remove batteries from hybrids and EVs. The owner made a comment about the dismantler complaining about sparks flying everywhere as he removed that battery from the vehicle. I looked on the other side of the battery and found the High Voltage Battery Disconnect Switch still in place! The battery was sitting on the shelf with exposed copper leads, AND it was still fully energized! I immediately reached back to the corner of the battery. I removed the High Voltage Battery Disconnect Switch to de-energize the exposed leads protruding into the storage area aisle.

I could not believe what I had just found and what the owner had explained to me. With all the ‘preaching’ the associations have done about safety-related concerns while handling hybrids and EVs, why did this owner not take some precautions during dismantling? Is our industry willfully and deliberately ignorant to implementing safety procedures for emerging technologies? Wait, are hybrids and EVs emerging technologies? NO.

The time has come for all recyclers to establish policies and procedures for handling hybrids and EVs. It’s time to invest in the needed equipment to handle these vehicles safely. It’s time to spend a few hours training your people. ARA spent lots of time and money developing everything needed to train and equip our people for this task – and have provided that manual to everyone – ARA member or not. Download the manual and set up training policies and procedures to keep your people safe today.

The manual can be downloaded at:

If you would like to contact Chad, please email him at