Lithium Batteries Make Frequently Cited Violations List

Posted on 10/15/2013 by Roger Marks

In an October 2 Final Rule published in the Federal Register, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) added a number of lithium battery-related shipping mistakes to its list of Frequently Cited Violations. The unique hazards posed by lithium batteries caught the attention of regulators in part due to a growing number of uses for these batteries, an increase in shipping volume, and many improperly prepared or damaged battery shipments causing incidents in transit. The manager of compliance and enforcement at the Federal Aviation Administration has called lithium batteries “today’s greatest threat to aviation safety.”
Shipping Lithium Batteries Banner
The Frequently Cited Violations list, found at Appendix A to 49 CFR Part 107, Subpart D, lists common hazmat shipping violations under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) and provides a suggested baseline penalty amount for each based on the type and/or severity of the violation. While these baseline minimums are not mandated by the Act, inspectors often use these baselines as a guide when assessing penalties.
New, lithium battery-related entries to the DOT’s list of Frequently Cited Violations include:
Offeror Requirements – All Hazardous Materials
Violation Description Section or cite Baseline assessment
A. Undeclared Shipments 172.200,172.300, 172.400,172.500  
4. Offering for transportation a lithium battery, without shipping papers, package markings, labels, or placards (when required):    
a. For air transport   $40,000
b. For ground transport   $20,000
E. Package Labeling Requirements    
8. Failure to place a Cargo Aircraft Only label on a package containing a primary lithium battery or failure to mark a package containing a primary lithium battery as forbidden for transport on passenger aircraft: 172.402(c), 172.102(c)(1), Special Provision 188, 189, 190  
a. For air transport   $10,000
b. For ground transport   $1,000
Offeror Requirements – Specific Hazardous Materials
Violation Description Section or cite Baseline assessment
F. Batteries 173.159,173.185, 173.21(c)  
1. Offering lithium batteries in transportation that have not been tested:    
a. Ground transport   $15,000
b. Air transport   $30,000
4. Offering lithium batteries in transportation that have not been protected against short circuit   $15,000
5. Offering lithium batteries in transportation in unauthorized packages   $12,500
7. Offering lithium batteries in transportation on passenger aircraft or misclassifying them for air transport   $30,000
8. Failure to prepare batteries so as to prevent damage in transit   $6,000

In addition to adding a number of lithium battery violations to the Frequently Cited Violations list, this rulemaking also raises the baseline, or suggested minimum, penalty for many of the violations on the list. The DOT raised these baseline penalty amounts to account for inflation and the increase in maximum civil penalties for all hazmat violations under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) last year.

Other New Lithium Battery Rules
This rulemaking is the latest in a series of changes to the lithium battery shipping rules. In 2012, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) amended its Technical Instructions to partially regulate large shipments of small batteries by air. The U.S. DOT is currently moving forward with a rulemaking originally proposed in 2010 to address the risks of lithium batteries in transport, including enhanced packaging, hazard communication, and operational requirements for various types and sizes of lithium batteries. According to the Office of Management and Budget, a Final Rule is expected this November.
Learn the latest rules for lithium battery ground (49 CFR), air (IATA), and vessel (IMO) shipments at the Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar on November 5! The live, instructor-led presentation covers critical rules for preparing lithium battery shipments to avoid incidents in transit, injury to personnel, and costly civil penalties. Prefer to train at your own pace? Lion’s Shipping Lithium Batteries Online Course is available 24/7 and provides general awareness, security awareness, and function-specific training for shipping personnel as required at 49 CFR 172.704

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

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