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Interpretation Response #04-0157 ([RCS, Inc.-Ohio] [Mr. Christopher R. Sharp])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: RCS, Inc.-Ohio

Individual Name: Mr. Christopher R. Sharp

Location State: OH Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Jul 13, 2004


Mr. Christopher R. Sharp                 Reference No. 04-0 157
Technical Consultant
RCS, Inc.-Ohio
950 Taylor Station Road, Suite M
Gahanna, OH 43230

Dear Mr. Sharp:

This is in response to your letter dated June 9, 2004 requesting clarification of the wet battery exception found in § 173.159(e) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 17 1-180). Specifically, you ask if two pallets containing two wet batteries each, that otherwise meet the exception found in § 173.159(e)(1)-(4), could use that exception if placed in a transport vehicle with four battery powered forklifts. You state that the batteries installed in the forklifts are identical to the palletized batteries and that the forklifts contain no other hazardous materials and are excepted from the HIVIR under
§ 173.220(c).

Shipments of electric storage batteries are excepted from the HMR if the provisions found in § 173.159(e)(1)-(4) are met. Paragraph (1) of § 173.159(e) states that no other hazardous materials may be transported in the same vehicle. The definition of a hazardous material, found in § 171.8, includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT; § 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in Part 173, Subchapter C. The definition of a hazardous material does not exclude materials that meet one or more of the defining criteria but are being transported under exceptions. Therefore, a forklift that is excepted from the requirements of the HMR under § 173.220(c) would meet the definition of a hazardous material.

A battery powered forklift is classified as “Battery-powered vehicle” or “Battery powered equipment” and assigned to Hazard Class 9. Disconnected or uninstalled wet batteries are classified as “Batteries, wet, filled with acid” or “Batteries, wet, filled with alkali, electric storage” and assigned to Hazard Class 8. Therefore, the transport vehicle would contain two different hazardous materials, the first being a Class 9 material and the second a Class 8 material. To use the wet battery exception in § 173.159(e), you must remove the class 9 hazardous material from the transport vehicle. This can be accomplished by:

1. Loading the batteries and battery powered forklifts on separate transport  

2. Disconnecting the batteries that are installed in the forklifts; or

3. Uninstalling the batteries from the forklifts.
If you choose to disconnect the batteries and leave them in the battery carriage of the forklifts, you must ensure that they are protected from short circuits and damage while in transit. If you decide to uninstall the batteries from the forklifts then, as stated in § 173.220(c), you must package them in accordance with § 173.159.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if you require additional assistance.



Edward T. Mazzullo
Director, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

173.159,  173.220

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet
173.220 Internal combustion engines, vehicles, machinery containing internal combustion engines, battery-powered equipment or machinery, fuel cell-powered equipment or machinery