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PHMSA Issues Lithium-ion Battery Prohibition Safety Advisory

Posted on 4/7/2016 by Roger Marks

The US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today issued a safety advisory notice for individuals who prepare lithium battery shipments for transport and those otherwise involved in the transportation of lithium-ion or lithium-metal batteries. The advisory, published in the Federal Register today, April 7, informs lithium battery shippers and carriers of recent action taken by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that affect lithium battery air shipments.

The biggest change for lithium battery air shipments is the prohibition on standalone lithium-ion batteries (UN 3480) as cargo on passenger aircraft. This restriction was adopted into the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) with Addendum II to the 57th Edition.

Also added to the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IATA DGR were a restriction on state-of-charge (SoC) for lithium-ion batteries shipped by air, limits on number of packages per shipment, and other new and revised requirements.  

Today’s PHMSA safety advisory covers well-tread territory about how lithium batteries become a workplace and transport hazard—namely through “thermal runaway” in cells or batteries leading to venting of hazardous gases, fire, and explosions. The fire suppression systems on airplanes are not designed to handle fires as intense or fast-moving as lithium-battery fires, according to a notice Boeing released to airlines in a recent Multi Operator Message (MOM).

IATA lithium batteries shipping

All “hazmat employees” involved in preparing lithium-ion or lithium-metal battery shipments for transport need training on how to keep lithium ground, air, or vessel shipments in compliance. DOT fines for hazmat shipping mistakes—including lithium batteries—are as high as $75,000 per day, per violation.

Live Webinar: Shipping Lithium Batteries, April 26

Get up to speed on new 49 CFR, IATA DGR, and IMDG Code rules for lithium battery ground and air shipments! Be confident you know which IATA packing instruction (PI) to follow, whether you ship batteries by themselves, in equipment, or with equipment—by ground, air, or vessel!

Presented live by a full-time Lion instructor, the Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar will help you nail down and comply with constantly changing requirements. Plus, satisfy US DOT’s function-specific training requirement for hazmat employees at 49 CFR 172.704(c)(3).

Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, IATA, lithium batteries, new rules

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