Monday, October 12, 2009

Safety Advisory On Transportation of Lithium Batteries

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a safety advisory on October 7, 2009, alerting shippers and carriers to the importance of transporting lithium batteries safely.

They issued the advisory guidance to:

  • Inform persons of recent aviation incidents involving fires aboard both passenger and cargo aircraft and the potential hazards that shipments of lithium batteries may present while in transportation,
  • Provide information concerning the current requirements for the transportation of lithium batteries, and
  • Inform persons of the actions they have taken to date and plan to take in the future to address the hazards of these batteries.

The Hazardous Materials Regulations, or HMR, (49 CFR parts 171-180) include requirements for packaging, hazard communication, and handling lithium batteries. The HMR also impose additional restrictions on the transport of lithium batteries in the air mode, including a limited prohibition on the transport of lithium metal batteries as cargo on board passenger aircraft. Additionally, damaged, defective, or recalled lithium batteries (including those being returned to the manufacturer as part of a safety recall) should not be transported aboard aircraft.

Caltha LLP provides specialized expertise to clients nationwide in the evaluation environmental and hazardous material rules, developing material handling procedures, and preparing cost-effective management programs.

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