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Sep 2017
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USPS HAZMAT Awareness ProgramNew Lithium Battery Mailing StandardsThe frequency in which lithium batteries are shipped continues to increase, in both in the mail and through other commercial transportation providers.  With this increased volume, the Postal Service, Department of Transportation (DOT) and other international transportation agencies have observed an alarming increase in the frequency of incidents involving these batteries.  In an effort to maintain a safe environment in all modes of transport, these agencies have adopted new restrictions governing the transportation of lithium batteries.To align its mailing standards with these new regulations, on August 17, 2017 the Postal Service introduced a number of revised mailing standards for lithium batteries in the mail.  The details of these new mailing standards were published in the August 17, 2017 edition of the Postal Bulletin (issue 22474), and are summarized below.Specifically, the August 17, 2017 revisions will:LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES*   Generally prohibit all lithium-ion and lithium polymer ("rechargeable") cells and batteries in air transportation - only those being mailed separately (those not installed in, or packaged with, the equipment they are intended to operate).*   Note - when lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries are shipped separately, they are identified with the ID number UN3480.*   Exception for Intra-Alaska Mail: Provide a special allowance to permit a maximum of eight UN3480, lithium-ion or lithium polymer cells, or two UN3480 batteries, to be mailed in air transportation, but only for mailings that are both mailed from, and delivered within, the state of Alaska.QUANTITY LIMITATIONS*   Change quantity limitations for UN3480, lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries in surface transportation to align with those for lithium metal batteries (previously 8 cells or 2 batteries).  Going forward the maximum quantity will be based on the package weight, not the number of batteries. The new maximum weight limit is 5 pounds per mailpiece.PACKAGING*   Require the outer packaging of mailpieces containing any and all lithium batteries to be rigid and of adequate size so the lithium battery mark can be affixed on the address side without the mark being folded.*   Require lithium battery marks to be placed on the address side of all mailpieces bearing these marks.*   Permit the use of padded and poly bags as outer packaging only for mailpieces containing button cell batteries properly installed in the equipment they are intended to operate, provided the batteries are afforded adequate protection by that equipment.*   Note - this exception applies only to devices powered by very small batteries, examples include watches, fobs for automobile keyless entry, garage door openers, etc., and only when the batteries are actually installed in the device.  It would NOT include cell phones, or devices containing lithium AAA or AA batteries.MARKINGS*   Restrict lithium battery marks used in the mail only to those permitted by the DOT (eliminates the currently-permitted text marking option, and now requires an approved lithium battery label).*   Require a separate "prohibited on passenger aircraft" text marking, in addition to a DOT-approved lithium battery mark, for any lithium battery shipped separately. This marking must only be used for ground transportation.*   Eliminate the requirement for mailers to include accompanying documentation with mailings of lithium batteries (the previously-required peel-off labels are no longer required).*   Add the new DOT class 9 hazard warning label for lithium batteries to Publication 52, Exhibit 325.1, DOT Hazardous Materials Warning Labels: PROHIBITED IN THE MAIL.  (Any package required to bear this mark would always be prohibited in the mail.)CONSIGNMENTS*   Adopt a new definition for a lithium battery consignment - defined as one or more mailpieces containing lithium batteries entered into USPS networks by one mailer or mail service provider within a single mailing or retail transaction, or included in the same manifest or shipping services file, and intended for delivery to a single consignee at a single destination address.*   Require DOT-approved lithium battery markings on all mailpieces containing lithium cells or batteries contained in equipment when there are more than two mailpieces in a single consignment in domestic mail.*   Limit a single consignment to only two mailpieces containing lithium batteries for international and APO/FPO/DPO mail.IMPLEMENTATION DATES*   Allow voluntary compliance immediately, but requires mailers to be in compliance effective January 1, 2018.Lithium Battery Mailability (Revised)Surface TransportationAir TransportationDomestic Mailpiece  Limitations1<http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_026.htm#ep28>International Mailpiece LimitationsLithium Metal or Lithium Alloy Batteries2<http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_026.htm#ep28>, 3<http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_026.htm#ep29>Small non-rechargeable consumer-type batteriesContained in (properly installed in equipment)MailableMailable8 cells or 2 batteries11lbs.4 cells or 2 batteriesPacked with equipment, but not installed in the equipmentMailableMailable8 cells or 2 batteries11lbs.ProhibitedWithout the equipment they operate (individual batteries in originally sealed packaging)MailableProhibited5 lbs.ProhibitedLithium-ion or Lithium Polymer Batteries4<http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_026.htm#ep30>, 5<http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_026.htm#ep31>Small rechargeable consumer-type batteriesContained in (properly installed in equipment)MailableMailable8 cells or 2 batteries4 cells or 2 batteriesPacked with equipment, but not installed in the equipmentMailableMailable8 cells or 2 batteriesProhibitedWithout the equipment they operate (individual batteries in originally sealed packaging)MailableProhibited5 lbs.ProhibitedWithout the equipment they operate (individual batteries in originally sealed packaging) (Intra-Alaska Only)Mailable(up to 5 lbs.)Mailable8 cells or 2 batteriesProhibitedVery Small Lithium Metal or Lithium-ion Batteries6<http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_026.htm#ep30>, 7<http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c3_026.htm#ep31>Exception for very small consumer-type batteries in USPS air transportationContained in (properly installed in equipment)MailableMailableNo limit on cells/batteries5.5 pounds4 cells or 2 batteriesPacked with equipment, but not installed in the equipmentMailableMailableNo limit on cells/batteries5.5 poundsProhibitedDamaged/Recalled BatteriesProhibited, unless approved by the manager, Product Classification.Prohibited1.  When a mailpiece limitation of 8 cells or 2 batteries is applicable, a mailpiece may contain either 8 cells or 2 batteries, not both.2.  Each cell must not contain more than 1g lithium content.3.  Each battery must not contain more than 2g aggregate lithium content.4.  Each cell must not exceed more than 20 Wh (watt-hour rating).5.  Each battery must not exceed 100 Wh.6.  Each lithium metal or lithium alloy cell or battery must not exceed 0.3 gram of lithium content.7.  Each lithium-ion or lithium polymer cell or battery must not exceed 2.7 Wh.What Should Employees Do?Familiarize yourself with these new mailing standards.  Until January 1, 2018, accept mailings containing lithium batteries when they are compliant with either the new or old mailing standards.  Be sure to advise your customers of the new standards and the January 1, 2018 mandatory use date.When in DOUBT...Keep it OUT

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