Hazmat Regulations on Transport of Lithium Batteries Harmonized with International Standards
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a final rule that, effective Aug. 6, revises provisions in the Hazardous Materials Regulations concerning the transport of lithium cells and batteries consistent with the United Nations Model Regulations, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions) and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. Specific changes include the following.
- replaces equivalent lithium content with Watt-hours for lithium ion cells and batteries
- adopts separate shipping descriptions for lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries
- revises provisions for the transport of small and medium lithium cells and batteries, including cells and batteries packed with, or contained in, equipment
- revises the requirements for the transport of lithium batteries for disposal or recycling
- harmonizes the provisions for the transport of low production and prototype lithium cells and batteries with the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMDG Code
- adopts new provisions for the transport of damaged, defective and recalled lithium batteries
PHMSA notes that this rule does not adopt proposals to (1) modify provisions for what constitutes a change to a battery design in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, (2) require lithium cells and batteries to be marked with an indication that their design passed each of the appropriate tests outlined in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, or (3) limit the locations on board aircraft where shipments of lithium cells and batteries could be stowed.