Updated: DOT Withdraws 2017 Lithium Battery Updates for Now

Posted on 1/25/2017 by Roger Marks

URGENT: PHMSA has withdrawn its HM 215N Final Rule after the Agency last week announced it as Final and effective as of January 18, 2017.

The HM 215N Final Rule was withdrawn in response to an executive memorandum that instructs the heads of Federal agencies to halt or immediately withdraw any new regulation not yet  published to the Federal Register, pending review. PHMSA announced the rule as final last week, and  HM 215N was scheduled to appear in the Federal Register tomorrow, January 26. Read more and see the executive memorandum freezing new regulations here.

The withdrawal of HM 215N puts a hold on the new lithium battery rules described below, which DOT promulgated in order to harmonize US rules with international standards. Lion Technology is seeking guidance about this action from PHMSA and industry groups that represent hazmat shippers, and willl provide an update when more information is available.

Below is the text that appeared in Lion News when HM 215N was announced as final as of January 18, 2017.

In Final Rule HM-215N, announced today, US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) updated the 49 CFR requirements for shipping lithium batteries.
The updated lithium battery rules reflect rapidly changing international standards, which have evolved in recent years as regulators and industry grapple with the unique risks posted by these batteries—especially in air transport. 
New lithium battery label class 9 for 2017

New Class 9 Lithium Battery Label

For so-called “fully regulated” lithium battery shipments, DOT has adopted a new Class 9 lithium battery label to harmonize with international standards. Shippers may use the "old" Class 9 label on lithium battery shipments until December 31, 2018.

New Marking for “Small” Lithium Batteries

For small lithium batteries, a new rectangular lithium battery marking has been added to the 49 CFR requirements.

This marking is required on all shipments of small batteries, except in very specific cases. Shippers have until December 31, 2018 to begin using the new lithium battery marking.

Prototypes, Low-production Runs, and Damaged or Defective Lithium Batteries

In today’s Final Rule, DOT added a size requirement for the marking of “damaged/defective” lithium-ion or lithium-metal batteries. These packages must be marked with the words “Damaged/defective lithium ion battery” or “Damaged/defective lithium metal battery,” as appropriate, and the characters in this marking must now be at least 12 mm (0.47 inches) high.

PHMSA also added a paragraph to the regulations for prototypes and low-production runs of lithium batteries to require these shipments to note conformance with the requirements of 49 CFR 173.185(e) on shipping papers.

New Sessions Added—2017 Lithium Battery Shipper Training

Get full dangerous goods training to ship lithium batteries by ground, air, or vessel! This live, expert-led Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar covers the latest rules for 2017—including new restrictions from FedEx and UPS for small lithium batteries shipped by air.

Join us for new sessions, just added for 2017, on March 2, April 4, or May 9. This webinar will prepare you to keep your shipments in compliance, avoid rejection, and protect your facility from fines now up to $77,114 per day, per violation.

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

Tags: 49CFR, DOT, lithium batteries, new rules, PHMSA

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