PHMSA's Quarterly Newsletter for Hazardous Materials Safety Special Issue on Lithium Batteries July – September 2022
A Message from the PHMSA Deputy Administrator
Here at PHMSA, we are gearing up our safety oversight responsibilities for the transport of lithium ion and other hazardous materials batteries utilized in the transportation sector. Data from the Department of Energy projects that the worldwide lithium battery market will grow dramatically over the next decade, with estimates projecting the deployment of over one trillion lithium batteries to meet demand for electric vehicles and other mobility devices.
While these numbers are exciting, a recent uptick in incidents has underscored the fact that many individuals and businesses are still unaware of the potential dangers associated with lithium battery transportation—particularly, during the end of life phase of batteries. To help, PHMSA is ramping up our awareness campaign to encourage businesses and individuals to take necessary precautions when transporting lithium batteries.
This special issue of the Hazardous Materials Quarterly Newsletter is meant to connect shippers, carriers, consumers, and emergency responders with the resources they need to understand the potential hazards associated with transporting lithium batteries. A key part of this effort is the Safety Advisory Notice for the Transportation of Lithium Batteries for Disposal or Recycling, which contains vital information related to the correct packaging, marks and labels, emergency response information, and training requirements needed to safely transport lithium batteries.
While PHMSA continues to develop, implement, and promote regulations to transport lithium batteries safely and efficiently, we are only part of the solution. To do this right, we need the public's help to spread the word and adopt the safest practices when transporting lithium batteries. Together, we can be at the forefront of the global effort to achieve a cleaner, better future.
SPOTLIGHT: Safety Advisory Notice for the Transportation of Lithium Batteries for Disposal or Recycling
Are you involved in the transportation or handling of lithium batteries at end-of-life? PHMSA has issued the Safety Advisory Notice for the Transportation of Lithium Batteries for Disposal or Recycling for those who transport, dispose of, or recycle lithium batteries and products containing lithium batteries. The notice aims to increase awareness for the public and shippers about the often unrecognized dangers posed by lithium batteries in transportation, especially those for disposal or recycling.
The Safety Advisory Notice for the Disposal and Recycling of Lithium Batteries in Commercial Transportation:
The notice can be viewed in its entirety at: https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/training/hazmat/safety-advisory-notice-transportation-lithium-batteries-disposal-or-recycling
PHMSA encourages you to spread this important safety message with partners in the community. Please consider forwarding the notice to any interested parties in the lithium battery value chain and/or posting this information to your website or social media channels.
Interested in being the first to know when PHMSA posts notices and rulemakings to the Federal Register? You can subscribe to receive email notifications from the Federal Register whenever PHMSA posts by visiting the Federal Register site and clicking 'Subscribe' at https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/pipeline-and-hazardous-materials-safety-administration.
Lithium Battery-Related Publications and Resources
PHMSA develops compliance assistance materials that make it easier to understand and comply with the HMR. Access these safety resources at: https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/training/hazmat/publications.
Lithium Battery Guide for Shippers and Webinar Recording
The Lithium Battery Guide for Shippers and Instructional Webinar Recording are now available! This compliance resource and the accompanying webinar were developed to help shippers safely package lithium cells and batteries for transport by all modes using the latest regulatory requirements in HM-215O, published on May 11, 2020. The webinar, published on YouTube, directs viewers to scenario-based shipping guides that outline the applicable requirements to ship packages of lithium cells and batteries in various configurations. Each distinct shipping guide in the publication refers to the regulatory requirements for a specific lithium cell/battery type, configuration, and size, and allows shippers to easily find the applicable transport provisions.
Link to the webinar recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfZ6nhdbvJI
Link to the Lithium Battery Guide for Shippers: https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/training/hazmat/lithium-battery-guide-shippers
Lithium Battery Test Summaries (TS)
For safety reasons, lithium cells and batteries offered for transportation must have passed the design tests found in the United Nations (UN) Manual of Tests and Criteria, Section 38.3. Effective January 21, 2022, lithium cell and battery manufacturers must make test summary documents available upon request. The test summary includes a standardized set of elements that provide traceability and accountability to ensure that lithium cell and battery designs offered for transport meet UN 38.3 test requirements.
PHMSA developed this updated publication to help manufacturers and distributors better understand and implement the lithium battery test summary requirement. In addition to explaining the new requirements, this guide answers a series of frequently asked questions on terminology and applicability.
Webinar: "Safe Transportation of Lithium Batteries: What You Need to Know"
This webinar, developed in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy series, is focused on end-of-life for lithium batteries. It offers an overview of lithium batteries, the challenges presented in the end-of-life stage, and compliance assistance information for shipping lithium batteries. "Safe Transportation of Lithium Batteries: What You Need to Know" is available on the U.S. EPA YouTube page at the link below.
The EPA also maintains a website dedicated to battery disposal resources, as well as a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ).
“Are Lithium Batteries in Your Package?”
Do you need to ship a laptop, cell phone, or other device containing a lithium battery? If so, you're shipping hazardous materials! Undeclared hazmat is a risk to postal workers, emergency responders, and the general public. For lithium batteries (and devices containing them), potential dangers include short circuits or damage that can result in sparks and fires. PHMSA has prepared this resource, "Are Lithium Batteries in Your Package?," to help you package and ship lithium batteries safely, and display the proper hazard information.
This guide was prepared as part of PHMSA's Check the Box initiative, to raise awareness on the dangers of undeclared hazmat shipments. For more, visit: https://www.transportation.gov/check-the-box
Transporting Lithium Batteries Webpage
PHMSA's "Transporting Lithium Batteries" webpage consolidates lithium battery resources, as well as information on the latest requirements and actions related to lithium batteries in transportation. The page includes links to electronic resources from a wide range of federal and modal partners, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Keep up to date with PHMSA’s latest actions and resources by following our social media accounts at the links below, including Twitter (@PHMSA_DOT) or LinkedIn!
Additional PHMSA News
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Applicability of the Hazardous Material Regulations
In March of 2022, PHMSA announced an initiative to publish frequently asked questions (FAQ) on its website to facilitate better public understanding and awareness of the hazardous materials regulations. The FAQ contained in this repository were informed by historical letters of interpretation (LOI) and are meant to resolve recurring requests for common letters of interpretation. The initial Federal Register notice included answers to a list of twelve frequently-asked questions, to be published to PHMSA's Online Code of Federal Regulations (oCFR) tool.
In addition, the initial notice requested comment on the initiative, and sought stakeholder input on the prioritization of future sets of frequently asked questions. To encourage greater engagement, the comment period was extended an additional 60 days, until July 22, 2022. PHMSA also held a webinar to clarify the process and offer direct Q&A (recording available at the link below).
Link to webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1fCnNRK2d0
ERG 2020 Mobile App
The official ERG 2020 Mobile App is available for free to both Apple and Android users under the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) storefront.
For iOS users, please note that versions of the “ERG 2020” app published by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) will no longer be supported after September 2022. iOS users who downloaded previous versions listed under NLM should download the current version—“ERG for iOS” from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration—at the link below to ensure ongoing support.
Link to ERG 2020 (iOS): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/erg-for-ios/id1597142669
Link to ERG 2020 (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.nih.nlm.erg2012
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The Hazardous Materials Info Center
1.800.HMR.4922 or (1.800.467.4922)
PHMSA National is a quarterly news and information publication for the hazmat community at-large. Please submit any questions or requests to Training@dot.gov, with the SUBJECT: "PHMSA NEWSLETTER REQUEST."