PHMSA Amendment HM-259

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule on October 18th. As you know, the only way to amend or change Title 49 for Transportation in the Code of Federal Regulations is through a rule making process. This particular docket number is HM–259. Its goal is to “align the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations with current international standards for the air transportation of hazardous materials”. It has an effective date of October 18, 2018. While the published rule is 23 pages long, I have attempted to hit the highlights here.  If you wish to read the entire final rule with the discussion on comments received, you can go to

Highlights of HM-259

  • 172.101 – Removal of A3 and A6 from Column 7 for multiple entries in the HMT. Provision A3 will be removed from all Packing Group I entries. Provision A6 will be removed from all liquid entries to which it is assigned.
  • 172.102 – A3 revised and now reads as follows: “For combination packagings, if glass inner packagings (including ampoules) are used, they must be packed with absorbent material in tightly closed rigid and leakproof receptacles before packing in outer packagings.” There is no longer a mention of using “tightly closed metal receptacles”.
  • 175.10(a)(18)(i) – Revised portable electronic devices by passengers and crew. This section has been expanded to include portable medical electronic devices with lithium metal Continue Reading…
No Smoking
Up in Smoke – Transport Bans on E-Cigarettes

On almost every corner in St. Louis recently are signs for “vapor rooms” or “vaping” locations. Curious, I did some research. These are locations where the newly popular electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are sold and used. We now have electronic devices that are alternatives to real cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco. Some of these devices are called an e-cigarette, e-pen or even an e-hookah. They work by using a lithium battery to heat an internal coil which vaporizes a mixture of various chemicals and flavorings, including nicotine which is then inhaled.

Last week one of our local news stations, Fox 2 Now, aired a story about injuries received from electronic smoking devices exploding or catching fire while in the hands or pockets of some users. The full story can be found here. Please be warned some of the images are graphic in nature.

As someone in the “safety business,” I was curious in regards to what regulations are currently in place for these items. Back in January of 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert that air carriers require these devices only in the cabin of the aircraft. This was followed by a June 2015 ICAO addendum that “prohibits the carriage of e-cigarettes in checked baggage and restricts the charging of these devices while on board the aircraft.” In May of this year, the US Department Continue Reading…

Lithium Ion Batteries to be “Cargo Aircraft Only”

Download links below.

Lithium continues to cause (as well as alleviate) depression!

IATA, reporting on the Feb. 22 ICAO Council acceptance of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission, has announced that they will be adding an Addendum to the 57th Ed. of the IATA DGR to prohibit shipping Lithium Ion Batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft. This applies only to UN3480 (i.e. batteries alone) prepared under PI 965.

The prohibition will take effect April 1, 2016 (along with other announced changes – state of charge limits, number of Sec. II exemption items/consignment, etc.) and will be in effect for an unspecified “interim” period.

This interim period will probably depend on the conclusion of developing performance-based standards announced earlier (see my previous article).

The notice also includes reinforcing the restriction to PI 965 Section II exempted items to 1 per consignment or overpack; and will add the requirement for a Cargo Aircraft Only handling label for these packages/overpacks.

UN3481 lithium ion batteries packed with/contained in under PI 966 and PI 967 are not covered by the prohibition.

The formal issue of ICAO Technical Instructions 2015-2016 4th Amendment and IATA DG 2016 2nd Amendment, introducing this restriction, are expected by Feb. 26th.

Shippers of lithium ion batteries may have to plan soon for alternate delivery modes if customers are not well served by CAO flights.

The pre-amendment notices can be found here:
Lithium Batteries as Cargo in 2016 Update Continue Reading…

ICAO 2015-2016 Addendum III

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has published addendum No. 3 to be incorporated into the 2015-2016 Edition of the Technical Instructions (Doc 9284).

Download the PDF now »

Back to the Future – Interim ICAO/IATA 2016 Lithium Battery Changes

In addition to changes documented in the IATA 2016 (57th Edition) DGR, and the anticipated 2017 changes outlined in Appendix H (“Impending Changes” to ICAO Technical Instructions), recent incidents with lithium batteries and lithium battery-powered small vehicles (e.g. “Solowheels”, hoverboards, mini-“Segway”, etc.) have caused regulators to re-examine changes and deadlines.

Specifically ICAO intends to require that, in 2016 (date to be confirmed, April 1 proposed):

  1. Lithium ion cells and batteries (UN3480, PI 965) must only be offered for transport when their “state of charge” (SoC) does not exceed 30 % of the rated capacity, as determined by the UN Manual of Tests & Criteria (Section I cells/batteries are only allowed to exceed 30% if the States of Origin & Operator approve in writing).
  2. Not more than 1 package prepared under Section II of PI 965 (UN3480) or PI 968 (UN3090) may be placed in an overpack
  3. Overpacks prepared as above must have both the lithium caution label and “overpack” mark visible.
  4. Packages prepared as above must be offered separately from other cargo and not be loaded into a unit load device (ULD) before being offered to the carrier.

These are interim measures while performance-based standards are developed for lithium batteries; and until changes to UN3481 andUN3091 (packed with/in equipment) take effect in 2017. Some or all of these interim measures may be retained in the future editions of Continue Reading…

ICAO Addendum NO. 2/Corrigendum NO. 2

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Administration) has released an Addendum NO. 2/Corrigendum NO. 2 for their Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.

This 22-page addendum/corrigendum includes various editorial corrections, state variations and a large number of operator variations (including American Airlines, Air Canada, Air France, British Airways and Fed Ex).

Download ICAO Addendum II for the 2015-2016 Edition (PDF) »

Many of the operator variations relate to shipments of Lithium Batteries.

Ensure that you keep and consult the addendum before preparing your package to avoid costly delays.

Customers with questions can call our free regulatory hotline
Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm (EST).

Why You Need the Most Updated Regulatory Texts

The Bible, Shakespeare and Transport Regulations

“Woe is me” is a phrase heard by many. It basically means someone is unhappy or distressed. The Bible uses this phrase in several locations including Job 10:15, Isaiah 6:5 and Psalms 120:5. Shakespeare later used this same expression when writing for his tragic character Ophelia in “Hamlet”. Existing and operating in the world of regulations can also bring on this feeling. It is difficult enough learning the basics of any regulation, but to truly “know” it takes time, patience and work. This process is complicated by the fact that many regulations change. Is it really necessary to have the newest, latest regulation? To answer that question it is time to look to the regulations.

International Air Transport Association (IATA):

For many, these are the Air Regulations. In this instance, the regulation is updated YEARLY. A new edition goes into effect on January 1st of any given year and ends on December 31st of that same year. The Regulation is currently on its 56th Edition. To showcase some of the changes that could apply to a variety of shippers, please read the following:

  1. The List of Dangerous Goods has new entries and/or updates to existing substances
  2. Packing Instructions for Lithium Batteries was updated to include not only a change but also a new addition
  3. Section 7 – Marking and Labeling for Limited Quantities has new information

Continue Reading…

ICAO Releases Corrigendum #1 for Lithium Batteries in their 2015 – 2016 Edition

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced on December 10, 2014, the release of Corrigendum #1 to their 2015 – 2016 edition of the Technical Instructions for the Safe Handling of Dangerous Goods.

The corrigendum is brief and addresses the issue of the ability of a state to grant an exemption from the prohibition of the carriage of Lithium Metal Batteries aboard passenger aircraft. (Reference: 1;1.1.3)  This is stated in a revised version of Special Provision A201.


States concerned may grant an exemption from the prohibition to transport lithium metal batteries on passenger aircraft in accordance with Part 1;1.1.3.

Lithium Metal (i.e. “primary” or non-rechargeable) batteries are considered to present a more severe risk of hazard than Lithium Ion (i.e. rechargeable) batteries due to their higher Lithium content, and under normal circumstances they are banned from carriage aboard passenger aircraft. They are however normally allowed aboard cargo aircraft.

ICAO estimates that this new exemption, which was created to address potential emergency requirements for the transport of such batteries, will be invoked only rarely due to the ready availability of cargo aircraft to carry such goods under most circumstances.

Read the corrigendum now (PDF) »


Can You Really Ship HazMat/DG Without Following the Regulations?

Can someone ship hazardous materials/dangerous goods without using regulatory publications?

This is often a question we ask ourselves when assisting customers. There are so many if’s, and’s, and but’s in the regulations, it’s hard to imagine someone shipping hazardous products without them. The regulations are just large instruction manuals on how to safely ship dangerous materials. We often have customers call and question why their shipment was rejected. After listening to their story, we can usually find the answer right in the regulations. When we tell a customer why their shipment may have been rejected, customers normally see why having a copy of the current regulations is so important. Every company shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods should have all the regulatory manuals for the modes of transportation which they ship.

“That’s how we have always done it.”

This is something we hear very often, actually.

Just because that’s how you have always done it doesn’t mean it is compliant. The regulations are updated often for a reason – to ensure safety for everyone involved with shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods. Recently, many of the regulations have been updated to include new UN numbers. The new shipping names and UN numbers will affect the way that companies label and document these products. This could easily become a scenario where “we’ve always done it this way” may lead to penalties or fines.

“These books Continue Reading…

Ebola Outbreak Puts Stress on Shippers of Infectious Substances

The headlines are frightening – Ebola virus, one of the most deadly viruses known, has broken out in several African countries. Medical authorities are concerned that it could spread beyond that region, carried by travellers all over the world. Laboratories in North America and Europe are on alert for patients showing suspicious symptoms. This, in turn, means that samples and specimens must be transported for testing and verification. How can the medical community deal with transportation of such high-risk materials?

Shipping biological substances training »

Ebola virus is considered a “hemorrhagic fever,” which affects the blood system. Its virulence is astonishing, with a fatality rate of between 50 and 90 percent. Combine this with the ability to be transmitted through casual contact, and the lack of specific vaccines or treatment, and it’s understandable why Ebola is such a feared disease. Therefore, it is all the more essential that transporters make sure that they comply with all legal and safety requirements.

Ebola virus is one of the few pathogens that is always classed as a Category A infectious substance, even in its uncultured form. The shipping description will be:

  • Identification number – UN2814
  • Shipping name – Infectious substance, affecting humans
  • Class – 6.2 (Infectious substances)
  • Packing group – Class 6.2 is not assigned packing groups

Procedures for shipping samples suspected of containing the virus will depend upon the regulations involved – the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for Continue Reading…