The two year transition period is over.
January 1, 2019 was the end of the “phase-in” for the new marks and labels for lithium ion batteries. . Throw your old lithium ion battery shipping labels in the trash and make sure you have the new labels ready to go. Or…. more importantly, make sure you know what the new marks and labels look like, so you know what is being loaded on your aircraft.
Pilots who are responsible for loading luggage and cargo are often the last line of defense for detecting hazardous materials on board their aircraft. Because of this, it is critical that they are aware of the many rules and regulations governing the transportation of dangerous items through updated aviation hazmat training. Lithium ion batteries are an example of a product that is both a chemical and electrical hazard, so being familiar with labeling and marking can be critical to aviation safety.
For a quick review, the term “lithium battery” refers to a family of batteries with different chemistries, comprising many types of cathodes and electrolytes. There are 2 types of lithium batteries:
- Lithium metal batteries, which are non-rechargeable batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. Lithium metal batteries are generally used to power devices such as watches, calculators and defibrillators. These batteries, when packed by themselves, are forbidden for transport as cargo on passenger aircraft.
- Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable and are generally used to power devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets and power tools. When shipped by themselves, these batteries are also forbidden for transport as cargo on passenger aircraft.
The new lithium ion battery shipping mark has a border of red diagonal hatchings with a minimum width of 5 mm. The new symbol on the mark must be black on white (or suitable contrasting background) and consists of a group of batteries, one damaged and emitting flame above the UN number for lithium ion or lithium metal batteries or cells.
The old “lithium battery handling label” can no longer be used.
Class 9 lithium ion battery shipping labels with the lithium ion battery graphic (a group of batteries, one damaged and emitting flame) are also mandatory as of January 1, 2019. While the “Generic” Class 9 label will continue to be used for miscellaneous hazards, they are not allowed to be used for lithium batteries.
Whether you are the person shipping lithium ion batteries or the pilot who is responsible for loading luggage on your aircraft, it is mandatory that your aviation hazmat training is up to date. Be aware that the labeling requirements have changed and learn more about what is allowed and what is forbidden in the hazardous materials and dangerous goods training offered through CTS.
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