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New Regulation for Lithium Battery Manufacturers and Distributors

August 3rd, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

There is a new requirement for lithium cells and batteries that has the potential of creating a huge wave within the dangerous goods community within the next 2 years. This requirement is known as the “UN 38.3.5 Lithium cell and battery summary” that can be found in the “Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods Modal Regulations Volume II twentieth revised edition”. In paragraph 38.3.5 it states, “the following test summary shall be made available”. The question becomes “made available to whom”? The intent of the paragraph was meant to mean that the 38.3 test summary be made available by manufacturers and subsequent distributors of lithium cells and batteries to regulatory enforcements officials. The test summary refers to the UN 38.3 testing that is conducted on all new lithium batteries.

The testing on these batteries ensures that batteries are in a condition for transport that ensures that the batteries travel safely through the logistics chain. The testing and subsequent documentation also ensures that counterfeit batteries that have not been tested stay out of the logistics chain. According to 38.3.5 the information that “shall” be provided in the test summary include:

  • Name of cell, battery or product manufacturer, as applicable;
  • Cell, battery or product manufacturers contact information to include address, phone number, email address and website for more information
  • Name of test laboratory to include address, phone number, email address and website for more information
  • A unique test report identification number
  • Date of test report
  • Description of cell or battery to include at a minimum;
    • Lithium ion or lithium metal cell or battery
    • Mass;
    • Watt-hour rating or lithium content
    • Physical description of the cell/battery; and
    • Model numbers
    • List of tests conducted and results (i.e., pass/fail)
  • Reference to the assembled battery or testing requirements, if applicable (i.e. 38.3.3 (f) and 38.3.3 (g));
  • Reference to the revised edition of the Manual of Tests and Criteria used and to amendments thereto, if any; and
  • Signature with name and title of signatory as an indication of the validity of information provided. Lithium Cell and Battery Test Summary Challenge with change.

As with most changes that occur with the regulations, the challenge will be communicating the correct application of this rule to shippers, freight forwarders to ensure that there is an understanding that this document is not necessary for transport. Comprehensive and consistent training is an easy way to ensure that the requirement for this document is understood and implemented correctly. Remember, the document is meant to be made available to enforcement officials that need to refer to it should there be an incident involving a lithium battery shipment.

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