USPS to Update Lithium Battery Mail Rules in Publication 52

Posted on 8/1/2017 by Roger Marks

To align its requirements with recent updates to domestic and international hazmat shipping standards for lithium batteries, the US Postal Service will update its hazmat shipping manual, Publication 52. USPS announced its intent to update its lithium battery mailing rules in February, reviewed comments from lithium battery shippers and other stakeholders, and will now set about revising the rules.

The updates will be published in the Postal Bulletin on August 17, 2017 and reflect recent changes to the ICAO Technical Instructions (TI), IATA DGR, and the US DOT's 49 CFR hazmat shipping regulations. 

Major changes to the USPS lithium battery mail rules in this Publication 52 update include: 

  • Generally prohibiting UN 3480 lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries in USPS air-eligible products (with certain exceptions) 
  • Adding the new DOT Class 9 hazard label for lithium batteries to to the section of DOT labels prohibited in the mail (Publication 52, Exhibit 325.1)
  • Revising the quantity limitations for lithium ion batteries from 8 cells or 2 batteries to an aggregate limit of 5 pounds
  • Eliminating the text marking option for mailpieces that require or are permitted to display lithium battery markings
  • Limiting markings to DOT-approved lithium battery handling marks only 
  • Requiring outer packaging of mailpieces that contain lithium batteries to be rigid and big enough to fit the handling marking on the address side without folding the marking.
See the full announcement in the Federal Register here. 

USPS proposed these lithium battery mailing updates in February. 

Other New Lithium Battery Rules for 2017

The change made by US DOT in this Final Rule reflect updated international standards like those found in the 2017 IATA DGR. To read more about updated lithium battery rules for 2017, check out these recent Lion News features:

New IATA Lithium Battery Guidance for 2017
Live Training to Ship Lithium Batteries in 2017 
IATA Clarifies DGR Training Rules for Lithium Battery Air Shippers

Lithium Battery Shipper Training

The live, expert-led Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar also covers the latest rules for 2017—including new restrictions from FedEx and UPS for small lithium batteries shipped by air.

Complete lithium battery shipper training is also available in a self-paced online course, available 24/7.

Tags: batteries, lithium, new rules, USPS

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