No More Lithium Batteries Internationally via USPS

The U.S. Post Office prohibited lithium batteries in their international mail service effective May 16, 2012, This includes lithium batteries/cells and devices containing lithium batteries. All lithium batteries even small batteries like watch batteries and ALL devices containn lithium batteries even watches are prohibited.  This provision includes mailing lithium batteries in device to and from APO, FPO or DPO. However this does not apply to points within the US and its territories.

This action was necessary because the ICAO Regulations do not permit mailing of lithium batteries/cells or devices in international air at this time.  The US Post Office is hopeful that it will be able to restore it international mailing for lithium batteries when the ICAO’s International Regulations become effective and allow for this on January 1, 2013.  Refer to our previous blog post on ICAO Proposed Lithium Battery changes.

A copy of the US Post Office final rule can be found here.

If you have questions regarding lithium batteries, please let us know and we will be happy to assist you. We can be reached at (704) 573-0955.


IATA Addendum

On April 26th, IATA issued an addendum to the 53rd Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, which corrects, revised and adds to the existing regulations. 15 pages out of the 19-page document are revisions and additions to the State and Operator Variation.  No changes were issued to the United States, UPS or FedEx variations.  Wheelchair and mobility aid regulations were revised. Revisions to the overpack requirements as they apply to limited quantities were made. The overpack requirement now states that if the limited quantity marking is not visible than the outside of the overpack must be marked with the word “Overpack”.

A copy of the Addendum can be found here.  Print a copy for your IATA today. More dangerous goods helpful information can be found in our reference library.

Changes to Packages Shipped by Air

PHMSA issued a final rule regarding the packaging, closure, liners and absorbents when shipping by air. The changes in this rulemaking will align with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions.  A summary of the changes is:

  • Class/Division 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1 or 8 Packing Group III materials must be in packaging, which is a Packing Group II performance level.
  • The packaging must be constructed to resist the effects of temperature and vibration changes which normally occur during air transportation.
  • Liquid Packing Group I materials will require:
    • Secondary means of closure and
    • Absorbent materials of liquid in Classes/Divisions 3, 4, 5.1, 6.1, or 8 in glass, earthenware, plastic or metal inner packagings
      • Sufficient absorbent material to absorb the entire contents of the inner packaging
      • Absorbent must not react with the liquid
      • Liquid Packing Group II and III materials will require:
        • Secondary means of closure
          • If cannot be applied or impractical, then inner packaging can be placed in a leakproof liner or bag

Secondary means of closure could be tape, child resistant closures, friction seleeves, locking rings, heat seals, etc.

These requirements are for air shipments.

Compliance Dates
Voluntary compliance date: May 16, 2012
Effective date: July 1, 2012

PHMSA HM-231A rule can be found here.


Lithium Battery Changes Proposed for the 49CFR

Today, PHMSA issues a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on lithium batteries transported by air. This notice details the regulatory changes to the 49 CFR that would allow for the lithium battery air requirements to harmonize with the ICAO Technical Instructions. If the proposed rules are incorporated into the 49 CFR, the rules would be effective Jan.1, 2013. This is also the effective date for the ICAO Technical Instructions lithium battery changes. Comments on this proposed rule can be submitted by following the instructions in the NPRM by May 11, 2012. The proposed rules of Lithium Batteries can be downloaded here.

Also check out our previous post concerning the ICAO lithium battery changes.

If you have questions or need assistance with transportation of lithium battery or other hazardous materials, please let us  know at (704) 573-0955.

OSHA Changes Product Labeling, Safety Data Sheets and More

Today, OSHA released the changes to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) that will align with the Global Harmonized System (GHS).  These changes will provide one set of criteria for classifying materials.  The new standard specifies hazard communication information on product labels and safety data sheet.

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard are as follows:

  • Hazard classification: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. Hazard classification under the new, updated standard provides specific criteria to address health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.  Sample label can be found here:
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS): The new format requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information. Sections 12-16 are non-mandatory sections.  Break down of the information by section can be found here
  • Information and training: To facilitate understanding of the new system, the new standard requires that workers be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format, in addition to the current training requirements.

Compliance Date to Remember:
December 1, 2013 – Employees must be trained on the new label including the signal word, pictogram, hazard and precautionary statements as well as the Safety Data Sheets format.

June 1, 2015 – Compliance with all modified provisions, except:

December 1, 2015 – Distributors may ship products labeled under the old system until this date.

June 1, 2016 – Labeling and hazard communication programs must be updated to comply with the new standard and employees trained on additional hazards found under the new standard.

Transition Period – use of the old HSC, the new HCS or a mixture of both standards are allowed during the transition.

Compliance with Hazardous Materials Regulations

Classification of products found in the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations has already been modified to align with the GHS. Now, OSHA and DOT classification with be harmonized as well.

The final rule will be published on March 26, 2012 but a copy is available here.  At the time of this posting Appendix B – F links were not working. Additional information about HCS and GHS can be found here.

If you need assistance with updating labeling, Haz Com programs, Safety Data Sheets or training of your employees, please contact Ken or Christine at (704) 573-0955 and Safety Specialists will be happy to assist you.

OSHA will Announce GHS Haz Com Updates by Teleconference

On Tuesday, March 20 at 11:30 a.m. EDT, there will be a teleconference to announce the updates to the Hazard Communications Standard to align with GHS.

“WASHINGTON – Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, joined by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, will host a press teleconference on March 20 to announce a final rule updating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazard Communication Standard. To better protect workers from hazardous chemicals and help American businesses compete in a global economy, OSHA has revised the Hazard Communication Standard so that it is in alignment with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Other OSHA officials also will participate in the call to answer questions on the updated standard and the globally harmonized system.”

WHO:    Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels
WHAT:    Press teleconference on updates to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard to align it with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
HOW:    Phone number: 800-857-9615 Passcode: 23427
WHEN:    Tuesday, March 20 11:30 a.m. EDT

To view a printable version of the announcement, click here.  We will post revisions to the Haz Com standard as they become available.


Canada’s Proposed Dangerous Goods Regulations Amendments

On March 10. 2012, proposed amendments to Canada’s Transportation Dangerous Goods Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette.  The proposed changes include:

  • A change in the definition of “person” and the addition of a definition for “organization” which aligns the TDG Regulations with the TDG Act, 1992;
  •             A clarification of packaging requirements for outer packaging for aerosols in small quantities;
  •             A more precise indication of filling requirements for standardized and non-standardized means of containment;
  •             The option of affixing dangerous goods safety marks required by IMDG Code for the transport to or from a ship, harbor or sea terminal;
  •             Editorial changes.

The proposed Amendment can be found here.

ICAO Lithium Battery Changes

ICAO publishes minutes meetings held February 6-10, 2012 which discussed lithium batteries provision changes. These meetings amended the lithium battery provisions including packaging instructions, safety measures, training for shippers, operator acceptance compliance checks, and pilot notification. Packing Instructions 965, 966, 968 and 969 are in the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment can be downloaded here.