August 6, 2014: (FR)(HM224F) PHMSA Issues Final Rule Revising Requirements for the Transportation of Lithium Batteries

PHMSA has issued a final rule concerning the requirements governing the transportation of lithium batteries and cells. This ruling revises hazard communication and packaging provisions. PHMSA clarified that all lithium batteries offered for transport to, from and through the United States in accordance with the Canadian TDG regulations also comply with the appropriate requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations. Some of the important points of this final rule to are:
1. Replaces equivalent lithium content with Watt-hours for lithium ion cells and batteries – definition for Watt-hour has been added
2. Adopts separate definitions and shipping descriptions for lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries
3. Adds a definition for short-circuit
4. Revises provisions for the transport of small and medium lithium cells and batteries including cells and batteries packed with, or contained in equipment
5. Revises the requirements for the transport of low production and prototype lithium cells and batteries for disposal or recycling
6. Harmonizes the provisions for the transport of low production and prototype lithium cells and batteries with the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMDG Code
7. Adopts new provisions for the transport of damaged, defective and recalled lithium batteries

In addition, PHMSA stated that it is not adopting provisions proposed in the NPRM to:
1. Modify provisions for what constitutes a change to a battery design in the UN Manual of Tests Criteria
2. Require lithium cells and batteries to be marked with an indication that the cell or battery design passed each of the appropriate tests outlined in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria
3. Limit the locations on board aircraft where shipments of lithium cells and batteries could be stowed

View the complete ruling