Lithium Battery Harmonization
FINAL RULE: Hazardous Materials: Harmonization With International Standards – Lithium Battery (UN3480, UN3481, UN3090, UN3091) Harmonization
PHMSA issued its final rule to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to maintain consistency with international regulations and standards by incorporating various amendments, including changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements. These revisions are necessary to harmonize the HMR with recent changes made to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical instructions (ICAO) for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations. Additionally, PHMSA adopted several amendments to the HMR resulting from coordination with Canada under the U.S.- Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council.
Effective date: This rule went into effect March 30, 2017, except for instruction 22, which will be effective January 2, 2019. Voluntary compliance date: January 1, 2017
This article’s focus is on the harmonization that applies to lithium battery shipments.
What has changed?
A lithium battery hazard communication document is NO LONGER REQUIRED.
New special provision 422 is assigned to the Hazardous Material Table entries:
‘‘UN 3480, Lithium ion batteries including lithium ion polymer batteries’’;
‘‘UN 3481, Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment including lithium ion polymer batteries’’;
‘‘UN 3481 Lithium ion batteries packed with equipment including lithium ion polymer batteries’’;
‘‘UN 3090, Lithium metal batteries including lithium alloy batteries’’;
‘‘UN 3091, Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment including lithium alloy batteries’’; and
‘‘UN3091, Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment including lithium alloy batteries.’’
Special Provision 422 states:
When labelling is required, the label to be used must be the label shown in §172.447. Labels conforming to requirements in place on December 31, 2016 may continue to be used until December 31, 2018. When a placard is displayed, the placard must be the placard shown in §172.560.
§172.447 LITHIUM BATTERY label.
(a) Except for size and color, the LITHIUM BATTERY label must be as follows:
(b) In addition to complying with §172.407, the background on the LITHIUM BATTERY
label must be white with seven black vertical stripes on the top half. The black vertical
stripes must be spaced, so that, visually, they appear equal in width to the six white
spaces between them. The lower half of the label must be white with the symbol
(battery group, one broken and emitting flame) and class number “9” underlined and
centered at the bottom in black.
(c) Labels conforming to requirements in place on December 31, 2016 may continue to
be used until December 31, 2018.
What has changed?
The Class 9 lithium battery label detailed above replaces the standard class 9 label on a package when shipping fully regulated UN3480, UN3481, UN3090 and UN3091 lithium cells and batteries. A transition period permits the use of either the lithium battery class 9 label or the standard class 9 label on packages until December 31, 2018.
§173.185(c) Exceptions for smaller cells or batteries In this rulemaking, PHMSA replaced the previous handling marking with the lithium battery mark described below for use in all modes of transport, and removed the §173.185(c)(3)(iii) requirement for shippers to provide a hazard communication document with shipments that display the lithium battery mark.
(3) Hazard communication. Each package must display the lithium battery mark except when a package contains button cell batteries installed in equipment (including circuit boards), or no more than four lithium cells or two lithium batteries contained in equipment, where there are not more than two packages in the consignment.
(i) The mark must indicate the UN number, `UN3090' for lithium metal cells or batteries or `UN3480' for lithium ion cells or batteries. Where the lithium cells or batteries are contained in, or packed with, equipment, the UN number `UN3091' or `UN 3481' as appropriate must be indicated. Where a package contains lithium cells or batteries assigned to different UN numbers, all applicable UN numbers must be indicated on one or more marks. The package must be of such size that there is adequate space to affix the mark on one side without the mark being folded.
A transition period until December 31, 2018, is provided to allow adequate time for shippers to transition the new lithium battery mark and exhaust existing stocks of preprinted packagings or markings. UPS asks if the transition period also includes the requirement to mark packages when there are more than two packages per consignment of lithium ion or metal batteries contained in equipment. As proposed this transition was only intended to apply to the requirements for the mark itself and not to the exception from marking. After reviewing the international standards this rulemaking is harmonizing the HMR with, PHMSA has determined that for modes of transportation other than air an additional year was provided for consignment limit changes. In this final rule, PHMSA is amending § 173.185(c)(3(ii) to state that for modes of transportation other than by aircraft the provisions in paragraph (c)(3), including the exceptions from marking, in effect on December 31, 2016 may continue to be used until December 31, 2018. For transportation by aircraft only the provisions concerning the lithium battery handling marking itself in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) may be used until December 31, 2018.
What has changed?
The lithium battery mark detailed above replaces the lithium battery handling marking on packages that contain smaller cells or batteries. Each different UN number associated with the cells and batteries contained within a package must be represented on the lithium battery mark. Multiple marks may be applied to the package.
A phone number for acquiring additional information is still required, and must be placed on the mark beneath the UN numbers.
A transition period permits the use of either the lithium battery handling marking or the replacement lithium battery mark on packages until December 31, 2018.
PHMSA amended § 173.185(c)(2) to specify that each outer package must be rigid unless the cell or battery is contained in equipment and is afforded equivalent protection by the equipment in which it is contained. Each package containing cells or batteries must be capable of meeting the requirements of the 1.2 meter drop test.
Each package must be of adequate size so that the handling mark can be affixed on one side without the mark being folded. The HMR previously did not prescribe minimum package dimensions or specific requirements for package performance other than the requirements described in § 173.24 and §173.24a. Several instances occurred in which either the package dimensions were not adequate to accommodate the required marks and labels or the package was not sufficiently strong to withstand the rigors of transport. These amendments enhance the communication and recognition of lithium batteries and better ensure that packaging is strong enough to withstand normal transport conditions.
PHMSA amended § 173.185(e) to permit the transport of prototype and low production runs of lithium batteries contained in equipment. These amendments are mostly consistent with amendments adopted into the 19th Revised Edition of the UN Model Regulations and Amendment 38–16 of the IMDG Code, which authorize the transportation of prototype and low production runs of lithium batteries contained in equipment in packaging tested to the PG II level. The ICAO Technical Instructions authorize the transportation of prototype and low production runs of lithium batteries contained in equipment in packaging tested to the PG I level. In the NPRM, PHMSA proposed to continue to require prototype and low production batteries to be placed in packaging tested to the PG I performance level with the belief that the higher integrity packaging provides an additional layer of protection for cells and batteries not otherwise subjected to the UN design tests.
PHMSA added a new paragraph (e)(7) to require shipments of low production runs and prototype lithium batteries to note conformance with the requirements of § 173.185(e) on shipping papers.
PHMSA amended § 173.185(f)(4) to harmonize with a requirement in the 19th Revised Edition of the UN Model Regulations that the ‘‘Damaged/defective lithium ion battery’’ and/or ‘‘Damaged/defective lithium metal battery’’ marking as appropriate be in characters at least 12 mm (0.47 inches) high.
What has Changed?
Outer packagings used to contain smaller cells or batteries must be rigid and must be capable of withstanding the requirements of the 1.2 meter drop test.
The package must be of a size that there is adequate space to apply the lithium battery mark on one side without the mark being folded.
Low production runs (i.e., annual production runs consisting of not more than 100 lithium cells or batteries) or prototype lithium batteries including equipment transported for the purpose of testing are also excepted from the testing requirements when contained in equipment, when the equipment is constructed or packaged in a manner to prevent accidental operation during transport and all other requirements of §173.185(e) are met.
Shipping papers for low production runs and prototype lithium batteries must include “Transported in accordance with §173.185(e)”
The marks, “Damaged/defective lithium ion battery” and/or “Damaged/defective lithium metal battery” on the outer package containing damaged or defective cells or batteries must be in characters at least 12mm (0.47 inches) high.