U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jan 23, 2020
(a) Electric storage batteries, containing electrolyte acid or alkaline corrosive battery fluid (wet batteries), may not be packed with other materials except as provided in paragraphs (g) and (h) of this section and in §§ 173.220 and 173.222; and any battery or battery-powered device must be prepared and packaged for transport in a manner to prevent:
(1) A dangerous evolution of heat (i.e., an amount of heat sufficient to be dangerous to packaging or personal safety to include charring of packaging, melting of packaging, scorching of packaging, or other evidence);
(2) Short circuits, including, but not limited to:
(i) Packaging each battery or each battery-powered device when practicable, in fully enclosed inner packagings made of non-conductive material;
(ii) Separating or packaging batteries and battery-powered devices in a manner to prevent contact with other batteries, devices or conductive materials (e.g., metal) in the packagings; or
(iii) Ensuring exposed terminals are protected with non-conductive caps, non-conductive tape, or by other appropriate means; and
(3) Damage to terminals. If not impact resistant, the outer packaging must not be used as the sole means of protecting the battery terminals from damage or short circuiting. Batteries must be securely cushioned and packed to prevent shifting which could loosen terminal caps or reorient the terminals. Batteries contained in devices must be securely installed. Terminal protection methods include but are not limited to:
(i) Securely attaching covers of sufficient strength to protect the terminals;
(ii) Packaging the battery in a rigid plastic packaging; or
(iii) Constructing the battery with terminals that are recessed or otherwise protected so that the terminals will not be subjected to damage if the package is dropped.
(b) For transportation by aircraft:
(1) The packaging for wet batteries must incorporate an acid- or alkali-proof liner, or include a supplementary packaging with sufficient strength and adequately sealed to prevent leakage of electrolyte fluid in the event of spillage; and
(2) Any battery-powered device, equipment or vehicle must be packaged for transport in a manner to prevent unintentional activation or must have an independent means of preventing unintentional activation (e.g., packaging restricts access to activation switch, switch caps or locks, recessed switches, trigger locks, temperature sensitive circuit breakers, etc.).
(c) The following specification packagings are authorized for batteries packed without other materials provided all requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, and for transportation by aircraft, paragraph (b) of this section are met:
(1) Wooden box: 4C1, 4C2, 4D, or 4F.
(2) Fiberboard box: 4G.
(3) Plywood drum: 1D.
(4) Fiber drum: 1G.
(5) Plastic drum: 1H2.
(6) Plastic jerrican: 3H2.
(7) Plastic box: 4H2.
(d) The following non-specification packagings are authorized for batteries packed without other materials provided all requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, and for transportation by aircraft, paragraph (b) of this section are met:
(1) Electric storage batteries are firmly secured to skids or pallets capable of withstanding the shocks normally incident to transportation are authorized for transportation by rail, highway, or vessel. The height of the completed unit must not exceed 1
(2) Electric storage batteries weighing 225 kg (500 pounds) or more, consisting of carriers' equipment, may be shipped by rail when mounted on suitable skids. Such shipments may not be offered in interchange service.
(3) One to three batteries not over 11.3 kg (25 pounds) each, packed in strong outer boxes. The maximum authorized gross weight is 34 kg (75 pounds).
(4) Not more than four batteries not over 7 kg (15 pounds) each, packed in strong outer fiberboard or wooden boxes. The maximum authorized gross weight is 30 kg (65 pounds).
(5) Not more than five batteries not over 4.5 kg (10 pounds) each, packed in strong outer fiberboard or wooden boxes. The maximum authorized gross weight is 30 kg (65 pounds).
(6) Single batteries not exceeding 34 kg (75 pounds) each, packed in 5-sided slip covers or in completely closed fiberboard boxes. Slip covers and boxes must be of solid or double-faced corrugated fiberboard of at least 91 kg (200 pounds) Mullen test strength. The slip cover or fiberboard box must fit snugly and provide inside top clearance of at least 1.3 cm (0.5 inch) above battery terminals and filler caps with reinforcement in place. Assembled for shipment, the bottom edges of the slipcover must come to within 2.5 cm (1 inch) of the bottom of the battery. The completed package (battery and box or slip cover) must be capable of withstanding a top-to-bottom compression test of at least 225 kg (500 pounds) without damage to battery terminal caps, cell covers or filler caps.
(7) Single batteries exceeding 34 kg (75 pounds) each may be packed in completely closed fiberboard boxes. Boxes must be of double-wall corrugated fiberboard of at least 181 kg (400 pounds) test, or solid fiberboard testing at least 181 kg (400 pounds); a box may have hand holes in its ends provided that the hand holes will not materially weaken the box. Sides and ends of the box must have cushioning between the battery and walls of the box; combined thickness of cushioning material and walls of the box must not be less than 1.3 cm (0.5 inch); and cushioning must be excelsior pads, corrugated fiberboard, or other suitable cushioning material. The bottom of the battery must be protected by a minimum of one excelsior pad or by a double-wall corrugated fiberboard pad. The top of the battery must be protected by a wood frame, corrugated trays or scored sheets of corrugated fiberboard having minimum test of 91 kg (200 pounds), or other equally effective cushioning material. Top protection must bear evenly on connectors and/or edges of the battery cover to facilitate stacking of batteries. No more than one battery may be placed in one box. The maximum authorized gross weight is 91 kg (200 pounds).
(e) When transported by highway or rail, electric storage batteries containing electrolyte, acid, or alkaline corrosive battery fluid and electric storage batteries packed with electrolyte, acid, or alkaline corrosive battery fluid, are not subject to any other requirements of this subchapter, if all of the following are met:
(1) No other hazardous materials may be transported in the same vehicle;
(2) The batteries must be loaded or braced so as to prevent damage and short circuits in transit;
(3) Any other material loaded in the same vehicle must be blocked, braced, or otherwise secured to prevent contact with or damage to the batteries. In addition, batteries on pallets, must be stacked to not cause damage to another pallet in transportation;
(4) Except for the purpose of consolidating shipments of batteries for recycling, the transport vehicle may not carry material shipped by any person other than the shipper of the batteries; and
(5) Shipments made under this paragraph are subject to the incident reporting requirements in § 171.15.
(f) Batteries can be considered as non-spillable provided they are capable of withstanding the following two tests, without leakage of battery fluid from the battery:
(1) Vibration test. The battery must be rigidly clamped to the platform of a vibration machine, and a simple harmonic motion having an amplitude of 0.8 mm (0.03 inches) with a 1.6 mm (0.063 inches) maximum total excursion must be applied. The frequency must be varied at the rate of 1 Hz/min between the limits of 10 Hz to 55 Hz. The entire range of frequencies and return must be traversed in 95 ±5 minutes for each mounting position (direction of vibrator) of the battery. The battery must be tested in three mutually perpendicular positions (to include testing with fill openings and vents, if any, in an inverted position) for equal time periods.
(2) Pressure differential test. Following the vibration test, the battery must be stored for six hours at 24 °C ±4 °C (75 °F ±7 °F) while subjected to a pressure differential of at least 88 kPa (13 psig). The battery must be tested in three mutually perpendicular positions (to include testing with fill openings and vents, if any, in an inverted position) for at least six hours in each position.
(g) Electrolyte, acid or alkaline corrosive battery fluid, packed with batteries wet or dry, must be packed in one of the following specification packagings:
(1) In 4C1, 4C2, 4D, or 4F wooden boxes with inner receptacles of glass, not over 4.0 L (1 gallon) each with not over 8.0 L (2 gallons) total in each outside container. Inside containers must be well-cushioned and separated from batteries by a strong solid wooden partition. The completed package must conform to Packing Group III requirements.
(2) Electrolyte, acid, or alkaline corrosive battery fluid included with electric storage batteries and filling kits may be packed in strong rigid outer packagings when shipments are made by, for, or to the Departments of the Army, Navy, or Air Force of the United States. Packagings must conform to military specifications. The electrolyte, acid, or alkaline corrosive battery fluid must be packed in polyethylene bottles of not over 1.0 L (0.3 gallon) capacity each. Not more than 24 bottles, securely separated from electric storage batteries and kits, may be offered for transportation or transported in each package.
(3) In 4G fiberboard boxes with not more than 12 inside packagings of polyethylene or other material resistant to the lading, each not over 2.0 L (0.5 gallon) capacity each. Completed packages must conform to Packing Group III requirements. Inner packagings must be adequately separated from the storage battery. The maximum authorized gross weight is 29 kg (64 pounds). These packages are not authorized for transportation by aircraft.
(h)(1) Dry batteries or battery charger devices may be packaged in 4G fiberboard boxes with inner receptacles containing battery fluid. Completed packages must conform to the Packing Group III performance level. Not more than 12 inner receptacles may be packed in one outer box. The maximum authorized gross weight for the completed package is 34 kg (75 pounds).
(2) Battery fluid, acid (UN2796) may be packaged in a UN6HG2 composite packaging further packed in a UN4G fiberboard box with a dry storage battery. The UN6HG2 composite packaging may not exceed 8.0 liters in capacity. Completed packages must conform to the Packing Group III performance level. The maximum authorized gross weight for the completed package is 37.0 kg (82.0 lbs).
(i) When approved by the Associate Administrator, electric storage batteries, containing electrolyte or corrosive battery fluid in a separate reservoir from which fluid is injected into the battery cells by a power device cartridge assembled with the battery, and which meet the criteria of paragraph (f) are not subject to any other requirements of this subchapter.
(j) Nickel cadmium batteries containing liquid potassium hydroxide solution. Nickel-cadmium batteries that contain no more than 10 ml of liquid potassium hydroxide solution (UN1814) in each battery are not subject to the requirements of this subchapter under the following conditions:
(1) Each battery must be sealed in a heat sealed bag, packaged to prevent short circuits, and placed in the center of an outer packaging surrounded with a foam-in-place packaging material;
(2) The completed package must meet the Packing Group II performance level;
(3) The gross weight of the package may not exceed 15.2 kg (33.4 pounds); and
(4) The cumulative amount of potassium hydroxide solution in all of the batteries in each package may not exceed 4 ounces (0.11 kg).
(k) Damaged wet electric storage batteries. (1) Damaged batteries incapable of retaining battery fluid inside the outer casing during transportation may be transported by highway or rail provided the batteries are transported in non-bulk packaging, meet the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, and are prepared for transport under one or more of the following conditions:
(i) Drain the battery of fluid to eliminate the potential for leakage during transportation;
(ii) Individually pack the battery in a leak proof intermediate package with sufficient compatible absorbent material capable of absorbing the release of any electrolyte and place the intermediate packaging in a leakproof outer packaging that conforms to the general packaging requirements of subpart B of this part;
(iii) Pack the battery in a salvage packaging in accordance with the provisions of § 173.3(c); or
(iv) When packaged with other batteries or materials (e.g., on pallets or non-skid rails) and secured to prevent movement during transport, pack the battery in leakproof packaging to prevent leakage of battery fluid from the packaging under conditions normally incident to transportation.
(2) Shipment of damage batteries in accordance with this paragraph is eligible for exception under paragraph (e) of this section.