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October 2007 Newsletter

U.S. D.O.T. More on Lithium Batteries

Check the "Hot Topics" link on the left side of our opening page.

DOT/PHMSA has issued a new final rule dealing with Lithium Batteries. The rule is  effective 1 January 2008 with voluntary compliance authorized as of 1 October 2007.

It applies to air shipments from the U.S., to the U.S., and transiting the U.S. Despite DOT attempts to make the language as clear as possible it still gets pretty technical and is probably beyond the comprehension of the average transportation worker.

It focuses on whether the batteries are non-rechargeable (primary lithium batteries) or rechargeable (secondary batteries). The primary batteries are forbidden on passenger carrying aircraft, whether they are regulated batteries under UN 3090 or "not regulated" under Special Provision A-45.

The accurate identification of the lithium batteries (primary or secondary) is really the basic problem for some shippers, all forwarders, and all airline personnel. That problem is further complicated by distributors who rarely are up to date on the regulations and even less knowledgeable about distinguishing between rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries. In FX-10 of the ICAO & IATA regulations, FedEx requires shippers to go on to their website where you will see that they require that non-rechargeable lithium batteries must be identified on the Shipper's Declaration if the batteries are being shipped under UN 3090 or on the air waybill if they are being shipped under Special Provision A-45. . We agree with FedEx and would suggest that all shippers follow that practice regardless of the carrier.

FedEx also requires that the packages containing non-rechargeable batteries under A-45 must bear the "Cargo Aircraft Only" label.

Add to that mix, the huge number of counterfeit batteries that are in transportation and the small shipper that couldn't care less as long as he can save a dollar or a Euro.

The U.S. D.O.T./Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has provided guidance if you are in possession of recalled batteries.

TSA - reminder
The deadline for Security Threat Assessment submissions for agents (sub-contractors) of indirect air carriers was July 15, 2007.

As of now. aircraft operators and indirect air carriers (air freight forwarders) may not allow unescorted access to air cargo for any individual unless the operator has submitted the information for that individual to TSA.

Every employee of R-A Specialists has successfully passed TSA's Security Threat Assessment and Training Program.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
Our comments about Material Safety Data Sheets in our August Newsletter resulted in a number of phone calls and e-mails with some interesting comments and complaints from the freight forwarding industry and a few shippers and distributors of dangerous goods.

Based upon most of the comments, it is obvious that a significant number of transportation personnel have never received training on how to read the data and its importance when an exposure to a chemical occurs. Oftentimes the exposure causes no immediate effects other than an unpleasant odor and employees merely write it off as an unpleasant experience. We would point out that the MSDS should be pointing out the results of exposure and frequently references are made concerning results on specific organs in the body or the risks for cancer over a longer time frame.

It should be noted that emergency responders are taught to approach a chemical spill with full protective gear. Transportation personnel rarely have that type of equipment available to them. Why would they risk future health problems?

Dangerous Goods Advisory Council
29th Annual DGAC Conference and Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition

November 14-16, 2007
La Fonda Hotel
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Join DGAC this November in the beautiful city of Santa Fe, New Mexico for the 29th Annual Conference and Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition.

Check the DGAC Website for additional information at www.dgac.org

Recent advisory from the FAA concerning lithium batteries and MSDS's

Click on image to View Advisory
FAA DGAB-07-01

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