Hazard Class 9 - Hazard Class Labels Explained

March 25, 2015

Recently, the United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) updated the regulations regarding compliance labels for the transportation of lithium batteries and cells (read the full DOT announcement here).  While the original mandatory compliance of February 6, 2015 has been extended to August 7, 2015 for all forms of transport outside air travel, these regulations are still fast approaching. 

Below we have listed out some of the basic facts regarding these new regulations for hazard class labels, as well as some simple guidelines to follow to make sure you or your customers are meeting these guidelines.

Mandatory Hazard Class Labels

There are a number of different labels and markings which are now required when shipping lithium batteries, depending on the method in which the labels are shipped. 

Hazard Class 9 – Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

The Department of Transportation now requires a Hazard Class 9 – Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods label (Figure 1) to be put on all shipments of lithium batteries and cells moved by ground transportation.

Hazardous Materials Label

Cargo Aircraft Only

As of January 1, 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) instated a ban on all lithium cargo in passenger aircraft.  Due to this new regulation, all cargo shipments of lithium batteries and cells must contain the Cargo Aircraft Only label (Figure 2).  This label also meets IATA compliance and the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 hazardous materials compliance.  Click here for full Title 49 information. 

Cargo Aircraft Only Label

Distinctive Handling Hazard Class Labels

Also necessary are the distinctive handling labels (Figures 3, 4), unique to both lithium batteries and lithium cells.  This hazard class label is mandated through international regulations, and must specify the battery type batteries with a lithium ion label or lithium metal label, as well as contact information for the company that is shipping the batteries.   These hazard class 9 labels must be 110 mm x 120 mm in size. 

Lithium Ion Distinctive Handling Label

Hazard Class 9 - Hazard Class Labels: Background

Lithium batteries and cells have been sold and transported since the 1970s.  They are popular for a number of reasons, including their long life cycle, versatility and compact size and weight.  They have become the preferred battery in many items used daily, such as cell phones, power tools, laptops and electronic toys.

These batteries also have the dangerous potential of rapid discharge, in which the batteries produce very high currents, causing overheating and the possibility of explosion.  Due to this, these batteries can be very dangerous when shipped, especially by air.  This has caused major organizations, such as the PHMSA and International Air Transport Association (IATA) to set a series of guidelines and compliances that are to be followed within the United States.

Get Compliant With The Right Hazard Class 9 Labels

To be compliant with these new regulations, you must make sure you are using the right labels for your packaging and means of transport.  Simply using the cheapest labels you can find will often result in labels falling off or becoming damaged and unreadable, which opens you up to significant fines and other penalties. 

General Data label experts can work with you to assure you or your customer has the right label for the job, keeping them in compliance with the peace of mind that these critical labels will perform as intended.

For more information regarding these changes in regulations or how General Data can help you with your Hazard Class 9 label needs, feel free to contact General Data by email (talktous@general-data.com), phone (1-844-643-1129) or through the contact form or chat box on our website.

To read the complete lithium battery guidance document, published by IATA, click here