New ICAO Lithium Battery Regulations Will Present Significant Challenges in 2013. Are You Ready?

One of the most noteworthy changes that will come into force in the 2013 ICAO Technical Instructions is the reworking of the various packing instructions for lithium ion and metal batteries and cells.

ICAO has determined that some lithium batteries currently assigned to Section II of Packing Instruction 965 (for lithium ion) and 968 (for lithium metal) will be reassigned to Section IB. This new designation means such batteries will be regulated as a Class 9 dangerous good and subject to all of the applicable provisions of the ICAO Technical Instructions, most notably formal training. The only exception afforded to section IB will be that such goods will not require transport in UN specification packagings or dangerous goods transport documentation, provided alternative written documentation is included. In such a case, the shipper must provide written documentation describing the contents of the consignment.

Employees that perform shipping functions for batteries and cells assigned to Section I will be required to be trained while those dealing with Section II cells and batteries only need to receive “adequate instructions.” With a little more than six months before these changes take effect, companies need to ramp up their efforts to comply with the new requirements.  Training employees will be a challenge and companies should make arrangements to train employees as soon as possible.  Whether PHMSA adopts these changes in a timely and consistent manner will not impact the ICAO implementation on January 1, 2013.  In the meantime, companies that ship internationally by air can’t afford to hold off on revising their processes and policies to ensure compliance with the new requirements.

Our previous blog entry on the February 2012 ICAO DGP meeting highlighted these revised shipping standards.

Labelmaster will continue to stay abreast of lithium battery regulation developments and provide updates as they happen. For additional information on lithium battery regulations, please visit the Labelmaster lithium battery shipping products page or the Labelmaster Services lithium battery shipping services page.  Labelmaster offers a variety of solutions for shippers of lithium batteries and cells, including labels, packaging, shipping guides and training. The fact that these new rules once adopted will be difficult to implement is an understatement.  Our experts can assist you in developing a lithium battery compliance program, conducting compliance assessments, designing a training program, and developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) or job aides for you company. Please contact us for more information.


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