Shipments of lithium batteries must be prepared by persons with adequate instruction and labelled and packaged according to their DGR classification (Class 9 miscellaneous dangerous goods UN number) and applicable IATA packaging instruction:
- 965 – Lithium ion cells or batteries in a package, without electronic equipment (UN3480)
- 966 – Lithium ion cells or batteries contained in a package with associated electronic equipment (UN3481)
- 967 – Lithium ion cells or batteries installed in equipment (UN3481)
- 968 – Lithium metal cells or batteries in a package, without electronic equipment (UN3090)
- 969 – Lithium metal cells or batteries contained in a package with associated battery-powered equipment – with the batteries not installed in the equipment (UN3091)
- 970 – Lithium metal cells or batteries installed in equipment (UN3091)
Changes taking effect in 2016 to these packaging instructions include the following:
- Strong “rigid” outer packaging must be used for shipments of batteries (effective 1 January 2016)
- Lithium ion batteries packaged alone may not exceed a state of charge of 30% of their rated design capacity unless approved by the State of Origin and the State of the Operator (effective 1 April 2016)
- No more than one package of lithium ion or lithium metal batteries packaged alone may be transported in a single consignment and no more than one package may be placed in an overpack (effective 1 April 2016).
There are heavy penalties for non-compliance with the DGR, including unlimited fines and a 2 year term of imprisonment. Companies should therefore ensure that they fully understand the DGR and have a system in place to monitor and manage the evolving requirements. They should be able to demonstrate due diligence in the identification and execution of the appropriate lithium battery packaging instruction, which should include written procedures and regular compliance checks.
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