When attempting to jump start an excavator operators mistook a positive battery post as the negative due to red shrink wrap on the cable leads on the negative post. The crossing of the negative posts provided an ignition source and caused a small fire. The hydrogen gas coming out of the battery was ignited causing the battery to expand and come apart at the top seam. Site employees were instructed to contact a trained and qualified employee (mechanic) to perform the task of jump starting a project vehicle.
Recommendation: Eliminate sending false signals by removing red shrink wrap on negative battery cables.
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