TT Talk - US advice on carriage of batteries for recycling

Dr Chris Foster of Dr J H Burgoyne & Partners LLP has drawn attention to the US Department of Transportation (DOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) advice issued concerning transportation of batteries for recycling and disposal following a number of serious incidents. PHMSA noted an ongoing trend of serious safety problems and non-compliance regarding the classification, packaging, marking, labelling, documentation, and transportation of spent batteries in commerce. Investigations revealed a number of safety issues, including:

1. Large numbers of used batteries, of many different types, are collected in large containers that do not adequately prevent damage to the batteries or prevent their release during transportation.

2. Outer packages are not marked and labelled as required to indicate that they contain batteries; the shipments are not described as required on accompanying shipping documents.

3. No action is being taken to prevent a short circuit, such as separating the batteries by placing each one in a separate plastic 'baggie' or taping the terminals of the battery.

The following weblink provides the complete advice.

PHMSA Battery Guide

It should be noted that PHMSA issued a final rule requiring full compliance from 1 January 2010. While this is obviously specific to US regulation, the safety principles will be valuable in other jurisdictions.