PHMSA Issues Final Rule on Transportation of Lithium Batteries (HM-224F)

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014,    Department of Transportation

PHMSA, in consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), issued a Final Rule (FR) modifying the requirements governing the transportation of lithium batteries and cells.  The final rule revises certain hazard communication and packaging provisions for lithium batteries and harmonizes the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with applicable provisions of the United Nations (UN) 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 (IMDG) Code.

The Final Rule:

(1) replaces equivalent lithium content with Watt-hours for lithium ion cells and batteries and adds a definition for Watt-hour;

(2) adopts separate definitions and shipping descriptions for lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries;

(3) adds a definition for short-circuit;

(4) revises provisions for the transport of small and medium lithium cells and batteries including cells and batteries packed with, or contained in equipment;

(5) revises the requirements for the transport of lithium batteries for disposal or recycling;

(6) harmonizes the provisions for the transport of low production and prototype lithium cells and batteries with the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMDG Code; and

(7) adopts new provisions for the transport of damaged, defective, and recalled lithium batteries.

In response to comments submitted by DGAC and others: PHMSA clarified that all lithium batteries offered for transport to, from, or through the United States in accordance with the Canadian TDG regulations also comply with the appropriate requirements of the HMR; and that aircraft quantity limits for lithium batteries, including those packed with, or contained in, equipment are aligned with the limits specified in the 2013-2014 ICAO Technical Instructions.

The new shipping descriptions adopted in the FR are:

Lithium ion batteries including lithium ion polymer batteries ......................................…………….UN3480, 9, II

Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment including lithium ion polymer batteries ..............UN3481, 9, II

Lithium ion batteries packed with equipment including lithium ion polymer batteries ...............UN3481, 9, II

Lithium metal batteries including lithium alloy batteries .....................................................UN3090, 9, II

Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment including lithium alloy batteries ......................UN3091, 9, II

Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment including lithium alloy batteries .......................UN3091, 9, II

 

In the FR, PHMSA also states that it is not adopting provisions proposed in the NPRM 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 the

cell or battery 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.

 

The FR is effective with an immediate voluntary compliance authorization.  The delayed compliance date is February 6, 2015.

PP  46012-46040, Docket PHMSA-2009-0095 (HM-224F), FR Doc. 2014-18146, Affecting 49 CFR Parts 171, 172, 173, and 175

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-06/pdf/2014-18146.pdf

 

Del Billings

Technical Director