On August 6, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued the long awaited Final Rule on lithium batteries (HM-224F). The proposed rule was initially released in January 2010 but was revised several times during the past 4 years. Since the original Rule was proposed, significant changes have occurred both legislatively within the US as well as with regards to lithium battery transport regulations internationally. Therefore, the changes adopted in the Final Rule are both long overdue and bring the HMR closer to harmonization with international standards.
The Final Rule became effective for voluntary use on August 6, 2014 meaning shippers may begin using the provisions immediately. Mandatory compliance, unless otherwise noted in specific sections of the Final Rule, will be February 6, 2015.
- Adoption of New Proper Shipping Names and UN Numbers for Lithium Batteries
- Removal of Equivalent Lithium Content for Lithium Ion Batteries
- Consolidation of Special Provisions with Packing Instructions
Anyone who has dealt with the lithium battery regulations in the HMR recall that the vast majority of exceptions were found in special provisions, not in association with the packing instruction (§173.185). In the Final Rule, PHMSA incorporated many of the special provisions (SP29, SP188, SP189, SPA55) into the packing instruction (§173.185). The full Final Rule document can be accessed here: