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Interpretation Response #15-0100 ([Rayovac Corporation] [Mr. Richard Weinberger])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Rayovac Corporation

Individual Name: Mr. Richard Weinberger

Location State: WI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 21, 2015

Mr. Richard Weinberger
Lab Department Engineer
Rayovac Corporation
Portage, WI 53901

Reference No. 15-0100

Dear Mr. Weinberger:

This is in response to your May 26, 2015 email and subsequent telephone conversation with a member of my staff requesting clarification of the requirements for shipping dented or damaged lithium metal batteries in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  In your email you state that damaged or dented lithium metal batteries are collected in a 30-gallon drum and filled with mineral oil.  After reviewing the regulations in § 173.185 for damaged, defective, or recalled batteries you ask if the regulations for damaged and defective batteries are in addition to the regulations for lithium batteries shipped for disposal and whether the method described in your letter is compliant with the HMR.

The regulations for shipping damaged, defective, or recalled batteries are separate from the regulations for lithium batteries shipped for disposal or recycling. The regulations in § 178.185(d) and (f) are intended to address specific cases as identified in the introductory text to those paragraphs.

The method described in your letter is partially compliant with the requirements for offering lithium cells or batteries for disposal or recycling as described in § 173.185(d).  The use of mineral oil effectively prevents movement of the cells or batteries in the package and prevents short circuiting between batteries in the package.  Lithium cells and batteries shipped for disposal or recycling are excepted from the design testing and record keeping requirements of § 173.185(a) and the UN specification packaging requirements of   
§ 173.185(b)(3)(ii). However, in accordance with § 173.185(b)(3)(i), the cells and batteries must be placed in non-metallic inner packages that completely enclose the cells or batteries and separate the cells or batteries from contact with equipment, other devices, or conductive material in the packaging. Based on the information provided in your letter it does not appear that the packing method described in your letter addresses the requirement to place the cells in non-metallic inner packages that completely surround the cells or batteries.

The method described in your letter is not compliant with the requirements for offering damaged lithium cells and batteries as described in § 173.185(f).  The regulations for the shipment of damaged lithium cells and batteries found in § 173.185(f) apply to cells and batteries that have been damaged, or identified by the manufacturer as being defective for safety reasons, that have the potential for producing a dangerous evolution of heat, fire or short circuit.  Such cells and batteries must be placed in individual, non-metallic inner packaging that completely encloses the cell or battery.  The inner packaging must be surrounded by cushioning material that is non-combustible, non-conductive, and absorbent.  Finally, each inner package must be individually placed into one of the specific outer packagings identified in § 173.185(f).

You may apply to PHMSA for permission to use an alternate means to package damaged lithium cells and batteries under the terms of a special permit. To apply, you must submit an application to the Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety that conforms to the requirements prescribed in 49 CFR Part 107, Subpart B.  In your application, you must provide justification that the method you are considering achieves a level of safety that is equal to or greater than that required under the HMR. You may obtain information on the special permit and approvals applications process from our website at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/regs/sp-a, or by calling PHMSA's Approvals and Permits Division at (202) 366-4511.

I trust this information is helpful.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.

Sincerely,

Ben Supko
Senior Regulations Officer
Standards and Rulemaking Division

178.185(d)(f),  173.185, 173.185(a), 173.185(b)(3)(ii), 173.185(f)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries