Store Owner Arrested for Lithium Battery Violations

Posted on 5/6/2024 by Lion Technology Inc.

A recently enacted New York City local law prohibits the sale, lease, rental, or distribution of powered micro-mobility devices like e-bikes, e-scooters, and batteries unless they have been certified by an accredited testing laboratory (i.e., “UL certification”).

Local Law 39 took effect in September 2023 in NYC. Now, the owner of an e-bike store on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn is the first person arrested under the statute. The individual was charged with reckless endangerment.

City Task Force Visited 3 Times Before Arrest 

A special task force had visited the store three times prior to the arrest and, per NY Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, “found and issued numerous violations for improper storage of lithium-ion batteries, loose-lithium-ion battery cells, uncertified batteries, and several other code violations.”

There were ten lithium-ion battery-related fires in NYC the week of the arrest, according to FDNY.

The City reports: 

The arrest indicates the FDNY’s increasing frustration in its efforts to end a disturbing trend that has skyrocketed since the number of micro-mobility devices mushroomed during the pandemic. More than 660 e-bike battery fires have erupted across the city since 2019, killing 28 New Yorkers and injuring 400 more.

National Fire Protection Association

Fire Safety Considerations for E-Bikes and E-Scooters

Lithium battery safety is a growing concern for safety professionals and officials, and this local NYC law is indicative of how new and growing safety concerns can relate to a more stringent regulatory environment.

From smart watches to electric vehicles, and everything in between, lithium batteries power our lives. More specifically, lithium-ion batteries—batteries that can be recharged are powering everything we do.

Lithium Battery Safety training is both a smart move for most people and a legal requirement for employees who handle lithium batteries in the workplace, including "hazmat employees" who package, mark, label, load, unload, handle, or otherwise prepare lithium-ion or lithium-metal batteries for transport.

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