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Interpretation Response #16-0081

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date: 09-01-2016
Company Name: N&M Transfer Co.,Inc.    Individual Name: Mr. Cary Krickeberg
Location state: WI    Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

September 1, 2016
Mr. Cary S. Krickeberg
Safety Manager
N&M Transfer Co., Inc.
630 Muttart Road
Neenah, WI  54956

Reference No. 16-0081

Dear Mr. Krickeberg:

This letter is in response to your May 5, 2016, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to electric storage batteries. You provide a scenario where a 1,200-pound forklift battery (UN 2794) is secured to a pallet in accordance with § 173.159(d)(1).  Specifically, you ask whether the battery secured to the pallet is contained in a packaging, defined as a bulk package, and requires a four digit marker (identification number) on the transport vehicle.

As defined in § 171.8, the term packaging means “a receptacle and any other components or materials necessary for the receptacle to perform its containment function in conformance with the minimum packing requirements of this subchapter.”  Pallets typically meet the definition of an overpack, as defined in § 171.8, as opposed to a package, which is defined as “a packaging plus its contents.”  However, § 173.159(d)(1) authorizes electric storage batteries firmly secured to skids or pallets as an authorized non-specification packaging provided all requirements of the paragraph are met.  Therefore, in your scenario, the forklift battery secured to a pallet meets the definition of a package.

In accordance with § 171.8, the definition of a bulk packaging is a packaging with a “maximum net mass greater than 400 kg (882 lbs.) and a maximum capacity greater than 450 L (119 gals) as a receptacle for a solid” with “no intermediate forms of containment.”  It is the opinion of this Office that the size of the battery determines whether a package meeting the requirements of § 173.159(d)(1) is considered bulk or non-bulk.  Therefore, an electric storage battery exceeding 400 kg secured to a pallet is a bulk package, and the transport vehicle must be marked with identification number as required by § 172.331.
I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.159(d)(1), 171.8, 172.331


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
§ 172.331 Bulk packagings other than portable tanks, cargo tanks, tank cars and multi-unit tank car tanks