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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-07-104
Details
Synopsis: On February 7, 2006, about 2359 eastern standard time, United Parcel Service Company (UPS) flight 1307, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F, N748UP, landed at its destination airport, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after a cargo smoke indication in the cockpit. The captain, first officer, and flight engineer evacuated the airplane after landing. The flight crewmembers sustained minor injuries, and the airplane and most of the cargo were destroyed by fire after landing. The scheduled cargo flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Night visual conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
Recommendation: TO THE PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Require aircraft operators to implement measures to reduce the risk of primary lithium batteries becoming involved in fires on cargo-only aircraft, such as transporting such batteries in fire resistant containers and/or in restricted quantities at any single location on the aircraft.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
Mode: Aviation
Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA06MA022
Accident Reports: In-Flight Cargo Fire, United Parcel Service Company Flight 1307, McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F, N748UP
Report #: AAR-07-07
Accident Date: 2/7/2006
Issue Date: 12/17/2007
Date Closed: 12/26/2012
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: PHMSA (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s): Cargo, Fire, Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 3/8/2013
Response: Notation 8477 (Dated 3/8/2013): The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), “Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Lithium Batteries.” The notice requested additional comments about the impact of changes to the requirements for the air transport of lithium batteries that have been adopted into the 2013–2014 International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions) and subsequently incorporated by reference in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The NTSB notes that PHMSA is considering the long-term impacts of permitting shippers and carriers to choose between compliance with the existing HMR or compliance with the ICAO Technical Instructions, when transporting lithium batteries domestically by air. The NTSB further notes that PHMSA is seeking comment on whether to require mandatory compliance with the ICAO Technical Instructions for all shipments of lithium batteries by air, both foreign and domestic. The NTSB believes that allowing domestic cargo shippers and carriers to choose between alternative standards for transporting lithium batteries would place carriers at greater risk when transporting such cargo in accordance with US regulations that currently provide less protection than the ICAO Technical Instructions. On April 14, 2010, the NTSB provided comments on the January 11, 2010, NPRM. The 2010 NPRM proposed new requirements to address NTSB Safety Recommendations A-07-104, A-07-105, and A-07-107 through -109 that were issued as a result of the NTSB investigation of the February 7, 2006, in-flight cargo fire on a United Parcel Service Company (UPS) cargo airplane at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 2010 NPRM acknowledged that under the HMR, materials that pose a specific and serious air transportation risk are regulated more stringently than materials that pose less of a risk when transported by air, with lithium batteries being the current exception to this standard. Included in the proposals at that time was the elimination of regulatory exemptions for packages of small lithium batteries. The NTSB stated that cargo shipments of small lithium batteries should be subject to the same packaging and identification requirements that apply to medium and large lithium batteries to increase the awareness of the risks associated with these batteries and to alert package handlers to exercise greater care when loading and unloading packages containing them. In its 2010 comments, the NTSB fully supported the proposal to eliminate exceptions for small lithium batteries, believing that implementation would have satisfied the intent of the following safety recommendation to PHMSA: Eliminate regulatory exemptions for the packaging, marking, and labeling of cargo shipments of small secondary lithium batteries (no more than 8 grams equivalent lithium content) until the analysis of the failures and the implementation of risk-based requirements asked for in Safety Recommendation A-07-108 are completed. (A-07-109) The NTSB recognizes that PHMSA was barred from implementing its original proposal to eliminate small lithium battery air cargo transport exceptions because of provisions in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that prohibit PHMSA from imposing requirements that are more stringent than the ICAO Technical Instructions. Since commenting on the 2010 NPRM, the NTSB has been involved in the investigation of two additional catastrophic in-flight cargo fires on aircraft that were transporting large quantities of lithium batteries. On September 3, 2010, a Boeing 747-400F, operated by UPS, crash landed at a military base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, while the crew was trying to return to the airport for an emergency landing due to a fire in the main deck cargo compartment. Both crewmembers died as a result of injuries sustained during the crash, and the aircraft was a total loss. On July 28, 2011, a Boeing 747-400F, operated by Asiana Cargo, crashed about 70 miles west of Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, after the flight crew declared an emergency due to a cargo fire and attempted to divert to Jeju International Airport. Again, both crewmembers died as result of injuries sustained during the crash, and the aircraft was a total loss. Based on these ongoing accident investigations, the NTSB remains concerned about the risks to aircraft flight crews from in-flight fires involving lithium batteries. These investigations also prompted the NTSB to issue Safety Recommendations A-12-68 through -70 on November 28, 2012, to the FAA. These recommendations were issued to improve the early detection of fires originating in cargo containers and pallets, to develop materials standards for cargo containers that provide better fire resistance, and to require active fire-suppression systems in all cargo compartments or containers. Meanwhile, the current HMR for domestic air cargo transport continue to allow many small lithium batteries to be transported as general cargo without the safety precautions that are provided for other common hazardous materials. Under current regulations, certain shipments of small batteries are exempt from hazardous materials packaging and identification requirements. These exemptions potentially permit large quantities of unidentified small lithium battery shipments on board both cargo and passenger aircraft, while the revised ICAO Technical Instructions substantially reduce the sizes of small lithium batteries that are subject to regulation. Lithium battery shipments in aircraft are increasing in number, and batteries are increasing in energy density. Recent incidents and research continue to show that lithium battery failures (regardless of the source or cause) can release flammable electrolyte or result in violent, high temperature reactions that can ignite combustible or flammable material nearby or further fuel an existing fire. The PHMSA final rule incorporated the ICAO Technical Instructions by reference, thus permitting, but not mandating, domestic lithium battery shipments to be transported by air in accordance with the international standards (except where the HMR prohibit primary lithium batteries and unapproved prototype lithium batteries and cells aboard passenger carrying aircraft). The ICAO Technical Instructions increased restrictions for shipment of lithium batteries by significantly decreasing the excepted quantity permitted in international cargo shipments. If the HMR are harmonized with the ICAO Technical Instructions, a significantly larger number of fully regulated domestic air cargo shipments of lithium batteries would be subject to the greater level of safety provided by specification packaging requirements and United Nations safety testing, labeling, and hazard communication standards. Complying with such increased safety requirements and standards would reduce the risks associated with transporting these materials. The NPRM Question 1 asks if any unintended consequences are anticipated if PHMSA authorizes the use of the ICAO Technical Instructions as an optional method of compliance with the HMR and does not issue a final rule revising the HMR to require domestic shipments of lithium batteries to comply with the provisions specified in the ICAO Technical Instructions. The NTSB strongly believes that unintended negative consequences would result if shippers and carriers were permitted to choose compliance with alternative standards for domestic cargo shipments as suggested in the NPRM. Such action would undermine the safety benefit offered by the improved ICAO Technical Instructions. Domestic carriers who choose not to apply the ICAO Technical Instructions would be placed at higher risk of cargo fires than their foreign competitors because of the current disparity between requirements in the HMR and the ICAO Technical Instructions. Failure to require domestic shipments of lithium batteries to comply with regulations equivalent to the international provisions would also place the United States in an inexplicable position of having weaker safety standards at a time when it should be leading the way in response to serious safety concerns about transporting these materials. The NPRM would be improved if the excepted amounts authorized by the HMR are at least consistent with the provisions in the ICAO Technical Instructions. The proposal should require that all lithium batteries, consistent with current ICAO packaging criteria, such as battery power, size, and quantity limitations in air transportation, be regulated as class 9 materials and subjected to the requirements of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations 173.185, including packaging standards and hazard communication requirements. Adoption of this proposal would reduce the risk of lithium battery fires during shipment. The proposal also should require personnel involved in packaging and shipping lithium batteries to be properly trained in their respective hazardous materials handling functions. The proposal should further ensure that these packages are clearly labeled, providing a visible indication of the presence of hazardous materials for flight crews, cargo handlers, and emergency responders. Finally, the proposal should ensure that all lithium battery shipments are listed on the Notice to Pilot in Command or hazardous materials cargo manifest to inform flight crews about the quantity, location, and type of lithium batteries on board an aircraft. The NTSB appreciates the opportunity to comment on the notice.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 12/26/2012
Response: The NTSB is aware that, on February 14, 2012, Congress enacted the FAA Act, which restricts PHMSA’s authority to issue any regulations more stringent than the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) technical instructions regarding the “Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.” PHMSA indicated that, beyond bringing the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) into line with the ICAO technical instructions, it cannot take any additional action in response to these recommendations. We remain concerned that the risk of primary lithium batteries becoming involved in fires on board cargo-only aircraft has not been mitigated. However, we recognize that PHMSA is unable at this time to implement the recommended actions. Accordingly, Safety Recommendations A-07-104 and -105 are classified CLOSED—RECONSIDERED.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/6/2012
Response: -From Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator: This is in response to your June 15, 2011 letter regarding NTSB Safety Recommendations A-07-104 through -108. This letter provides an update on Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) actions relative to those recommendations (excluding A-07-106, that has been closed) as well as Safety Recommendation A-07-109. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued the recommendations based on an investigation of a fire on a United Parcel Service cargo aircraft at Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and on concerns about the increasing number of incidents documented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) involving overheating and fires initiated by rechargeable lithium ion batteries. As you may know, recent Congressional action limits PHMSA’s ability to address several of the referenced recommendations. On February 14, 2012, Congress enacted the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (the FAA Act). The FAA Act specifically restricts PHMSA’s authority to issue any regulations that are more stringent than the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions). The FAA Act, in part, says: The Secretary of Transportation, including a designee of the Secretary, may not issue or enforce any regulation or other requirement regarding the transportation by aircraft of lithium metal cells or batteries or lithium ion cells or batteries, whether transported separately or packed with or contained in equipment, if the requirement is more stringent than the requirements of the ICAO Technical Instructions. Pub. L. 112-95 section 828.The FAA Act does, under certain conditions, allow for more stringent PHMSA action only when PHMSA obtains a credible report that demonstrates that the presence of lithium cells or batteries, transported in accordance with the ICAO Technical Instructions, substantially contributed to the initiation or propagation of an onboard fire. Because of the limitations of the FAA Act, PHMSA plans no further action beyond harmonizing the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) with the ICAO Technical Instructions. Specifically, PHMSA does not intend to require the use of specialized containers or further restrict their stowage locations unless: 1) the ICAO adopts such measures; or 2) PHMSA obtains a credible report that demonstrates a deficiency in the ICAO Technical Instructions that has substantially contributed to an onboard fire, and also suggests specialized packaging, additional stowage restrictions, or other measures would address the deficiency.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 6/15/2011
Response: The NTSB previously noted that PHMSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), titled “Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Lithium Batteries,” which was published at 75 Federal Register 1302 on January 11, 2010, would require primary lithium batteries located in inaccessible cargo compartments or freight containers to be transported in compartments or containers that are equipped with either an FAA-approved fire suppression system or an FAA-approved fire-resistant container. However, current FAA-approved suppression systems are ineffective in preventing fires involving primary lithium batteries. Therefore, we urged PHMSA to explicitly require that all shipments of these batteries be transported in FAA-approved fire-resistant containers until a fire suppression system that is proven to be effective becomes available. The NTSB notes PHMSA and the FAA’s ongoing research to better understand the fire behavior of primary lithium batteries; however, we remain concerned that the risk of these batteries’ becoming involved in fires on board cargo-only aircraft has not been mitigated. We emphasize that the intent of this recommendation is to prevent primary lithium batteries from becoming involved in hazardous conditions that may develop outside of freight containers used to transport these batteries on cargo-only aircraft. PHMSA indicated that metal packaging and depressurization were ineffective in containing fires involving primary lithium batteries; however, the NTSB asks whether metal containers or FAA-approved fire-resistant containers would protect primary lithium batteries from becoming involved in a runaway fire that occurred outside of the container. The NTSB notes that PHMSA has also solicited comments on whether a limit on the number of primary lithium battery packages transported in a single airplane or single container would further enhance safety, yet PHMSA still has not proposed any requirements to mitigate the risks of transporting these packages. Accordingly, because PHMSA has indicated no plans to revise its NPRM to include a requirement for operators of cargo-only aircraft to (1) stop the practice of clustering shipments of primary lithium batteries and/or (2) use FAA approved fire-resistant, or similar, containers for transporting all shipments of primary lithium batteries, Safety Recommendation A-07-104 remains classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/13/2010
Response: CC# 201000381: - From Cynthia Douglass, Administrator: In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), titled "Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Lithium Batteries," published on January 11, 2010, PHMSA proposed several actions to implement these recommendations. Specifically, PHMSA proposed to prohibit stowage of lithium metal batteries, transported in an inaccessible manner unless the inaccessible cargo compartment or freight container is equipped with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved fire suppression system or the lithium batteries are packaged in an FAA-approved fire resistant container. The PHMSA also sought comments on how limiting the number of lithium batteries in a single aircraft, single compartment, unit load device, pallet or similar overpack would further enhance safety. Since publication of the NPRM, FAA has continued to study the fire behavior of both lithium metal and lithium ion batteries, including the effectiveness of metal packaging and depressurization in controlling a fire involving lithium metal batteries. (Depressurization is a common suppression method used to help respond to fires on the main deck of a cargo-only aircraft.) These investigations found that (I) metal containers were ineffective in containing a lithium metal cell in thermal runaway, and (2) reduced air pressure had no effect on lithium metal cells once they were in thermal runaway. This additional testing reaffirms the conclusion that the ban on transporting lithium metal cells and batteries as cargo aboard passenger aircraft should remain in effect. In addition, further regulatory action extending the ban to cargo aircraft will be reevaluated. Further research for processes, procedures, or materials to mitigate the risk of onboard fires involving lithium metal batteries will continue. As we gather more data and refine our understanding of different containers and engineering processes, additional regulatory action may be necessary. The FAA also examined the fire behavior of lithium ion batteries, including the effectiveness of cargo compartment fire suppression systems, fire resistant containers, and hand-held fire extinguishers and found that several promising approaches exist to mitigate fires involving lithium ion batteries during air transport. Fire suppression systems in Class C cargo compartments proved effective in extinguishing open flames but will not stop the propagation of thermal runaway between cells, resulting in reignition. A fire resistant container or overpack also appears to mitigate the hazard present in shipping lithium ion batteries in non-Class C cargo compartments, such as those found on cargo-only aircraft (Class E). Additional work is needed in this area to develop a performance standard for this container. Testing revealed a limited advantage in placing a shipment of lithium ion cells in an accessible location. The FAA and PHMSA are continuing to assess the value of packaging and cargo-stowage limits for lithium ion batteries not transported in a Class C cargo compartment. We anticipate obtaining additional information with alternatives for improved safety measures for the transport of lithium ion batteries shipped as cargo as a result of the same evaluation. As we gather more data and refine our understanding of different containers and engineering processes, additional regulatory action may be necessary. These issues will have the immediate attention of DOT and are expected to be included in a rulemaking based on the results of the continuing research and testing.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 8/17/2010
Response: No response necessary.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/9/2010
Response: CC# 201000303 - From Ola Parsons, Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Executive Secretariat: Thank you for your letter of July 21 to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding Safety Recommendations A-07-104 through A-07-108 and A-08-1 and A-08-2 issued by the National Transportation Safety Board to the DOT, In light of the scope of your request and the need for DOT to coordinate its response, completion of our final response will take some time, We will provide a response as soon as possible, and we appreciate your patience. For your reference, we have assigned control number PHMSA-l 00803-002 to your letter.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 7/21/2010
Response: The NTSB has reviewed PHMSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), titled "Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Lithium Batteries," published at 75 Federal Register 1302 on January 11, 2010. The proposed rule would require inaccessible cargo compartments and freight containers in which shipments of primary or secondary lithium batteries are being transported to be equipped with an FAA-approved fire suppression system; the batteries may alternatively be transported in an FAA-approved fire-resistant container. However, current FAA-approved suppression systems are ineffective in preventing fires involving primary lithium batteries. Until a fire suppression system proven to be effective against fires involving primary lithium batteries becomes available, the NTSB urges PHMSA to explicitly require that all shipments of primary lithium batteries be transported in FAA-approved fire-resistant containers. The NPRM also indicates that PHMSA is considering whether a limit on the number of primary lithium battery packages transported in a single airplane or single container would further enhance safety. Although it acknowledges the cumulative effect and potential risks of packaging thousands of small primary batteries in close proximity, PHMSA does not propose any requirements to mitigate those risks. The NPRM is not responsive to Safety Recommendation A-07-104 because it does not completely address the unique hazards of shipping primary lithium batteries. Accordingly, pending issuance of a revised NPRM requiring operators of cargo-only aircraft to (1) stop the practice of clustering shipments of primary lithium batteries and (2) use FAA-approved fire-resistant containers for transporting all shipments of primary lithium batteries, Safety Recommendation A-07-104 is classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 4/14/2010
Response: Notation 7772F: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), “Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Lithium Batteries,” that was published at 75 Federal Register 1302 on January 11, 2010. The NPRM requests comments on revisions to the requirements for the transportation of lithium batteries in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). The primary purpose of the NPRM is to enhance the safe transportation of primary (non-rechargeable) and secondary (rechargeable) lithium batteries when transported as cargo in all modes, with an emphasis on aviation. The NTSB believes that PHMSA has proposed requirements that should improve the level of safety for transporting lithium battery cargoes, particularly on aircraft. However, the NTSB offers the following comments to strengthen and clarify the proposed rule. Overview The NPRM proposes new requirements that address Safety Recommendations A-07-104, A-07-105, and A-07-107 through -109 that were issued as a result of the NTSB’s 2006 investigation of an in-flight cargo fire on a cargo airplane at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The NPRM specifically addresses these safety recommendations through proposed requirements concerning the stowage of lithium batteries, the reporting and analysis of lithium battery failures, and the elimination of regulatory exceptions for small lithium batteries. The NTSB has included detailed comments about each of these areas in subsequent sections of this letter. The NTSB notes that PHMSA also proposes other requirements, and those are addressed as well. The NPRM does not address Safety Recommendations A-08-1 and -2, which were issued separately from the Philadelphia accident report but also pertain to the transportation of lithium batteries. Safety Recommendations A-08-1 and -2 concern the implementation and evaluation of public awareness programs for air passengers and crews who carry portable electronic devices containing lithium batteries or pack spare lithium batteries in their baggage or carry-on items. The NTSB notes that PHMSA plans to address these two recommendations under a separate rulemaking. However, because of the proliferation of personal electronic devices carried by the traveling public, the NTSB urges PHMSA to expedite its rulemaking regarding these recommendations. Stowage of Lithium Batteries Cargo shipments of primary lithium batteries have been prohibited on passenger aircraft for more than 10 years, but they are still permitted on cargo-only aircraft. Cargo shipments of secondary lithium batteries are permitted on both passenger and cargo-only aircraft. The transportation of primary lithium batteries is potentially dangerous, particularly on board aircraft, because there is currently no known fire suppression system capable of extinguishing fires involving these types of batteries. Fires involving secondary lithium batteries are extinguishable by fire suppression systems approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Although fire suppression systems are required in cargo compartments of passenger aircraft, they are not required in cargo-only aircraft. The investigation of the Philadelphia accident showed that flight crews on cargo-only aircraft remain at risk from in-flight fires involving primary lithium batteries and from fires involving secondary lithium batteries on aircraft not equipped with fire suppression systems. Consequently, the NTSB issued the following recommendations to PHMSA: Require aircraft operators to implement measures to reduce the risk of primary lithium batteries becoming involved in fires on cargo-only aircraft, such as transporting such batteries in fire resistant containers and/or in restricted quantities at any single location on the aircraft. (A-07-104) Until fire suppression systems are required on cargo-only aircraft, as asked for in Safety Recommendation A-07-99, require that cargo shipments of secondary lithium batteries, including those contained in or packed with equipment, be transported in crew-accessible locations where portable fire suppression systems can be used. (A-07-105) The NTSB believes that the NPRM fully addresses Safety Recommendation A-07-105 but only partially addresses Safety Recommendation A-07-104. The proposed rule would require that if either primary or secondary lithium batteries are transported in inaccessible cargo compartments or freight containers, the compartments or containers must be equipped with an FAA-approved fire suppression system, or that the packages of batteries must be transported in an FAA-approved fire-resistant container. Because current FAA-approved suppression systems are ineffective on fires involving primary lithium batteries, the NTSB believes that the NPRM would be improved if it explicitly required that shipments of primary lithium batteries be transported in FAA-approved fire-resistant containers. When the FAA approves a fire suppression system that is proven to be effective on fires involving primary lithium batteries, the NTSB would consider such a suppression system an acceptable alternative to an FAA-approved fire-resistant container. Because current FAA-approved fire suppression systems are effective on fires involving secondary lithium batteries, the NTSB supports the NPRM in that it would require that inaccessible shipments of secondary lithium batteries be transported in either cargo compartments or freight containers equipped with an FAA-approved fire suppression system or in FAA-approved fire-resistant containers. PHMSA states in the NPRM that it is considering whether a limit on the number of primary lithium battery packages transported in a single airplane or single container would further enhance safety. Although PHMSA acknowledges the cumulative effect and the potential risks of packaging thousands of small primary batteries in close proximity, it has not proposed any requirements to mitigate the risks. The NTSB believes that the NPRM would be improved if restrictions were imposed on the clustering of primary lithium battery shipments on cargo-only aircraft. Reporting and Analysis of Lithium Battery Failures In the Philadelphia accident report, the NTSB noted that the causes of secondary lithium battery failures are not well understood or documented. The NTSB suggested that this may be due, in part, to the fact that proper evaluation of failed lithium batteries is not always performed, and that, in many cases, these batteries are disposed of before the incident is reported, precluding an accurate analysis of the failures. As a result, the NTSB issued the following recommendations to PHMSA: Require commercial cargo and passenger operators to report to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration all incidents involving primary and secondary lithium batteries, including those contained in or packed with equipment, that occur either on board or during loading or unloading operations and retain the failed items for evaluation purposes. (A-07-107) Analyze the causes of all thermal failures and fires involving secondary and primary lithium batteries and, based on this analysis, take appropriate action to mitigate any risks determined to be posed by transporting secondary and primary lithium batteries, including those contained in or packed with equipment, on board cargo and passenger aircraft as cargo; checked baggage; or carry-on items. (A-07-108) On July 31, 2008, PHMSA published an NPRM to revise requirements for the transportation of battery-powered devices and batteries and to harmonize the U.S. Department of Transportation HMRs with international standards. The NPRM included a proposal to require that all incidents involving lithium batteries and devices containing them be immediately reported. In a letter dated November 19, 2008, the NTSB suggested that the NPRM could be improved by also requiring that failed lithium batteries and associated equipment be retained in order to ensure proper analysis. The reporting requirement was included in the final rule published on January 14, 2009; however, the retention requirement was not. The NTSB is disappointed that the current NPRM also does not propose the retention requirement, but only requests comments about how retention of failed batteries and equipment might be achieved and a proper analysis conducted. The NPRM notes that available incident data suggest that the most likely causes of lithium battery incidents are • External short circuiting (an exposed battery terminal contacts a metal object). • In-use situation (improper charging or discharging conditions associated with the use of equipment, including inadvertent activation and overheating). • Noncompliance (faulty battery design, false certification, or improper packaging). • Internal short circuit (foreign matter within the cell or battery, or physical damage). However, PHMSA does not discuss the reliability of the data used to determine these causes, and the NTSB is concerned that such determinations are being made without retaining and analyzing failed batteries. In the absence of sound failure analyses, the establishment of the appropriate and effective transportation requirements is questionable, and without a regulatory requirement to retain failed batteries and a program to analyze the retained batteries and equipment, the NPRM fails to fully address Safety Recommendations A-07-107 and -108. The NTSB believes that the proposed rule would be significantly improved if retention and analysis of failed batteries and equipment were required. Elimination of Regulatory Exceptions for Small Lithium Batteries The NTSB’s investigation of the Philadelphia accident also dealt with regulatory exceptions for packages of small secondary lithium batteries, such as those used to power laptop computers, cameras, cell phones, and other personal electronic devices. Under these exceptions, based on battery power, size, and weight, certain shipments of small batteries are exempt from the hazardous materials packaging and identification requirements. The exceptions allowed batteries to be shipped undetected on both cargo and passenger aircraft. Because small secondary lithium batteries have been involved in at least nine documented aviation incidents and their failure modes are not fully understood, the NTSB expressed concern about the exceptions. The NTSB stated that cargo shipments of small lithium batteries should be subject to the same packaging and identification requirements that apply to medium and large lithium batteries in order to increase public and industry awareness of the risks associated with these batteries and to alert package handlers to exercise greater care when loading and unloading packages containing them. Consequently, the NTSB issued the following recommendation to PHMSA: Eliminate regulatory exemptions for the packaging, marking, and labeling of cargo shipments of small secondary lithium batteries (no more than 8 grams equivalent lithium content) until the analysis of the failures and the implementation of risk-based requirements asked for in Safety Recommendation A-07-108 are completed. (A-07-109) The NPRM proposes to eliminate the regulatory exceptions for lithium cells and batteries transported on board aircraft. The proposal would require that all lithium cells and batteries be regulated as class 9 materials in air transportation and subjected to the requirements found in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 173.185, including the packaging standards and the hazard communication requirements. Adoption of this proposal would ensure that all lithium battery shipments are packaged appropriately and that packages are clearly labeled, providing a visible indication of the presence of hazardous material. The proposal also would ensure that all aviation shipments of lithium batteries are listed on the notice to the pilot in command. The NTSB fully supports the proposal to eliminate exceptions for small lithium batteries and believes that the proposal, if implemented, will satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation A-07-109. Other Proposed Requirements The NPRM proposes new requirements that have not been the subject of NTSB safety recommendations. The new proposals are discussed below. The NPRM proposes to change all references to primary and secondary lithium batteries in the HMRs to “lithium metal batteries” and “lithium ion batteries,” respectively. Because the chemistry, functionality, and fire exposure behavior of lithium metal batteries and lithium-ion batteries are notably different, PHMSA identified a need to distinguish between them. As a result, the NPRM proposes creating separate shipping names and entries for lithium metal and lithium-ion batteries, reassigning existing United Nations (UN) identification numbers for lithium batteries to lithium metal batteries, and creating new UN identification numbers for lithium-ion batteries. These changes would facilitate the development and implementation of transportation requirements that are most appropriate for each battery type. The NPRM proposes to adopt a methodology for determining the relative hazard associated with lithium-ion batteries by using measurements of watt-hours instead of equivalent lithium content. The NTSB agrees with PHMSA’s assessment that “watt-hours” is a more commonly used unit of measurement that is easier to calculate and understand. The NPRM notes that most of the recent lithium battery incidents in the aviation industry have involved noncompliant shipments. PHMSA contends that noncompliance often results from confusion regarding regulatory requirements, which in turn results from a lack of proper training. The NPRM points out that while shippers of small lithium batteries are currently exempted from the training requirements found in 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart H, the proposal to eliminate regulatory exceptions for shipments of small lithium batteries would require that these shippers train employees who prepare such shipments. PHMSA believes that the training would ensure that employees are knowledgeable about applicable regulatory requirements and that shipments conform to the requirements, which would ultimately result in a reduction of lithium battery incidents. The NTSB supports these additional proposals. The NTSB appreciates the opportunity to comment on this proposed rule and PHMSA’s continuing efforts to improve the safety of lithium battery transportation. Should you require any additional information or clarification, please contact us.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/16/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/22/2009 3:09:01 PM MC# 2090655: - From John D. Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation: We agree with NTSB that air carriers should be required to report all incidents involving lithium batteries, consistent with Safety Recommendation A-07-107. To this end, on January 14, PHMSA published a final rule under Docket No. HM-215JlHM-224D entitled "Hazardous Materials: Revision to Requirements for the Transportation of Batteries and Battery-Powered Devices; and Harmonization With the United Nations Recommendations, International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, and International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions" (74 2200; copy enclosed). In this final rule, we amended the Ilazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to include a comprehensive incident reporting requirement for batteries and battery-powered devices. As specified in the final rule, incidents involving batteries and battery powered devices that result in a fire, violent rupture, explosion, or dangerous evolution of heat must be reported. In addition to the written incident report, the final rule requires immediate telephonic reporting of incidents involving batteries and battery-powered devices in air transportation. We agree that an examination of failed batteries and associated electronic devices and equipment will provide valuable data and information as we continue to assess the transportation risks associated with these items. To that end, we are working with FAA and airlines to establish a cooperative program for effectively securing and preserving evidence and passenger information when incidents occur. We developed a standard protocol to be used by aircraft operators in the event of an incident. This protocol includes procedures for: (1) immediate reporting of the incident to DOT; (2) preservation of the batteries and/or electronic equipment that failed and transfer to appropriate authorities for analysis and evaluation; and (3) obtaining relevant information from passengers and crewmembers, including contact information for follow-up interviews as necessary. In addition, we are proposing a regulatory change to require a shipper, carrier, package owner or person reporting an incident to provide upon request by an authorized government representative reasonable assistance in investigating the damaged package or article. Consistent with Safety Recommendation A-07-108, PHMSA has completed an analysis of the causes of lithium battery incidents (copy enclosed). The data suggest that the most likely causes of lithium batte~yin cidents are: 1. External short circuiting - occurs when an exposed battery terminal contacts a metal object. When this happens, the battery can heat up and may cause ignition of the battery andlor the surrounding combustible materials. 2. In-use situation - generally relating to improper "chirging" andlor "discharging" conditions associated with the use of equipment (e.g., computer or cell phone). This also includes inadvertent activation and subsequent overheating (such was the case when a power drill activated and burned in a passenger's checked baggage). 3. Non-compliance - includes faulty design of the battery (cells or battery packs), false certification of compliance with regulatory testing/classification requirements, and improper packing afid handling inciudingsome counterfeit batteries. 4. Internal shall circuit - can be caused by foreign matter introduced into a cell or battery during the manufacturing process. An internal short circuit can also occur when a battery is physically damaged (e.g. dropped or punctured). PHMSA has initiated a rulemaking project to propose enhanced regulatory requirements to mitigate the risks identified in the incident analysis. The rulemaking is intended to strengthen the current regulatory framework by imposing more effective safeguards, including design testing, packaging, and hazard communication measures for various types and sizes of lithium batteries in specific transportation contexts. PHMSA plans to publish an NPRM this fall. The rulemaking will address the following issues: Elimination of current exceptions for small lithium batteries. Currently, shipments of small lithium batteries are excepted from certain packa-g in-g and hazard communication requirements. Instead, packages must conform to minimum packaging requirements and must be identified as containing lithium batteries for which special procedures should be followed in the event the package is damaged. We are considering eliminating the exceptions for small lithium batteries and imposing more stringent packaging and hazard communication requirements, including shipping papers, package marks and labels, and emergency response information. Elimination of the current exceptions would enhance safety by ensuring that all lithium batteries would be packaged to reduce the possibility of damage to the batteries that could lead to an incident and accompanied by hazard information that would ensure appropriate and careful handling by air carrier personnel and inform transport workers and emergency response personnel of actions to be taken in the event of an emergency. UN design tvpe test results. Currently, all lithium battery and cell types must be subjected to a series of tests as specified in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. The tests are intended to ensure that lithium batteries and cells will withstand conditions encountered during transportation. We are considering adopting a requirement for manufacturers to provide evidence of satisfactory completion of the UN design type tests for each lithium battery and cell that is offered for transportation in commerce. The intended effect would be to enhance compliance with the test requirements. Lithium battery shipping descriptions. Currently, all types of lithium batteries are transported using the same UN identification number. However, differences in chemistry, functionality and behavior when exposed to a fire are well documented for different types of batteries. The fact that all types of lithium batteries share the same UN number has the potential to cause significant problems in acceptance procedures for carriers and may unnecessarily hinder or delay the transportation of these products. Thus, we are considering revising the current shipping descriptions to account for different battery types and chemistries and for consistency with shipping descriptions in international transport standards and regulations. Stowage in crew accessible locations. We are proposing restricting stowage of lithium batteries on an aircraft to crew accessible locations to permit immediate investigation and response to smoke or fire. Recalled batteries. We are considering the development of appropriate safety measures for the air transport of lithium cells or batteries identified by the manufacturer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or the Department of Transportation as being defective for safety reasons, or those that have been damaged or are otherwise being returned to the manufacturer. PHMSA and FAA also plan to continue to evaluate the risks posed by all types and sizes of lithium batteries with a view towards further risk reduction. Depending on the availability of resources, we plan to address the following areas: Fire behavior. Test fire behavior of lithium batteries of various sizes and packaging configurations to better understand the transportation risks posed by these batteries and to develop more effective requirements to prevent fires and overheating. Fire resistant containers. Develop performance standards for fire resistant containers, including fireproof overpacks and ULDs, which can be used for the transportation of lithium cells Ad batteries of all types onboard aircraft. Cargo compartments. Analyze aircraft cargo compartment configurations and how both current and performance based container designs and their locations may decrease potential risks of fire. Fire detection and suppression. Analyze possible container internal detection and suppression methods and their effectiveness on the control or containment of lithium bazery fires. We are continuing our efforts to heighten public awareness related to the hazards associated with the air transportation of lithium batteries, including batteries contained in electronic devices. This is a key component of our comprehensive strategy to enhance safety and reduce incidents. Since 2007, PHMSA has been working with air carriers, battery manufacturers, air travel associations, airline pilot and flight crew associations and other government agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration, to educate the public about potential safety problems and measures that will reduce or eliminate those problems. PHMSA agrees that these efforts must be highly visible and continuous to be effective. One of our most visible programs to promote battery safety is the SafeTravel Web site, which includes guidance and information on how to travel safely with batteries and battery-powered devices. We have also been working with the major airlines, travel and battery industries to provide SafeTravel information for ticketed passengers and frequent flyers, and place printed battery safety materials in seat pockets on passenger planes. We have recorded several million hits on our SafeTravel Web site. PHMSA continues to maintain and update the SafeTravel website as new information becomes available and is currently in the process of a major revision to the site. TSA includes SafeTravel information and links on its popular public website and FAA has issued Travel Tips and FAQs on Batteries Carried by Airline Passengers with a link to the SafeTravel website. We are mindful that NTSB stressed actions to promote lithium battery safety awareness among flight crew specifically, and that Recommendation A-08-002 focuses on more robust assessment of passenger and flight crew awareness and behavior. We are working with FAA, ATA, its member airlines, the Airline Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) to raise flight crew awareness of measures they can take to avoid incidents as well as how to respond effectively should an incident occur in the cabin. Thousands of pilots and flight attendant personnel have been trained in how to appropriately respond to and mitigate a fire involving lithium batteries in a passenger aircraft cabin. Additionally, the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel added the appropriate procedures to the ICAO Emergency Response Guidance for Aircraft Incidents Involving Dangerous Goods (Red Book). We have requested available metrics for partner actions, and are coordinating with FAA to continually assess incident data focusing on root causes, in order to gauge any changes in passenger behavior. In the coming year, we will work to capture information about passenger behaviors independent of incidents, and work with FAA and with partners representing airline flight crews to ensure that battery safety and response information is made available. We also will develop a method for evaluating the effectiveness of our efforts to educate the public and flight crews.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 12/19/2008
Response: In its letter, PHMSA stated that it is considering rulemaking to require packages of primary and secondary lithium batteries to be loaded aboard a cargo aircraft in such a manner that a crewmember or other authorized person can access, handle, or, when size and weight permit, separate such packages from other cargo during flight. In addition, PHMSA is also considering a limitation on the total number of lithium batteries that may be stowed in an inaccessible cargo location. PHMSA also stated that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel is considering reducing the limits on the quantity of primary and secondary lithium batteries and cells that may be contained in each package transported on an aircraft and that PHMSA will include these new limits as part of a planned rulemaking project to align the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with the newest version of the ICAO technical instructions. Finally, PHMSA reported that it is beginning a study to investigate the feasibility of using fire-resistant containers for the transport of lithium batteries. Although the activities described are responsive to these recommendations, the Safety Board would like to know what specific actions are under consideration to address the unique hazards of each type of lithium battery (primary and secondary). Pending completion of the recommended actions, Safety Recommendations A-07-104 and -105 are classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/28/2008
Response: MC# 2080191: - From Stacey L. Gerard, Assistant Administrator/ Chief Safety Officer: In response to Safety Recommendations A-07-104 and A-07-105 we are considering rulemaking to require packages of primary and secondary lithium batteries to be loaded aboard a cargo aircraft in such a manner that a crew member or other authorized person can access, handle, or, when size and weight permit, separate such packages from other cargo during flight. This is one of our top safety priorities and we are applying significant resources to minimizing the risk associated with the transportation of lithium batteries as cargo and by passengers aboard aircraft. As we complete our analyses and propose additional requirements, we will keep you informed of our progress. If you have any questions, please contact me at (202) 366- 4433. We request that you classify recommendations A-07-104, 105, 106, 107 and 109 as Open - Acceptable Action and A-07-108 as Closed Acceptable Action. We thank you for consideration of our request. We are also considering a limitation on the total amount of lithium batteries that may be stowed in an inaccessible cargo location. During a recent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel Meeting, PHMSA and FAA supported reducing the limits on the quantity of primary and secondary lithium batteries and cells that may be contained in each package offered for transport aboard an aircraft. These new package quantity limits will come into force from January 1, 2009 in the international aviation transport regulations which the vast majority of carriers follow. The new package limits will result in limiting the quantity of batteries or cells that are transported aboard cargo aircraft. We will address these new limits in a rulemaking project that we are currently initiating to align the Hazardous Materials Regulations with the 2009-2010 edition of the ICAO TI. We also plan to conduct a risk assessment, identify additional alternative safety strategies, and assess the costs and benefits of these alternatives in conjunction with our rulemaking initiative to develop and implement the most appropriate solutions to address these recommendations. We are only just beginning to investigate and study the feasibility of using fire resistant containers for the transport of lithium batteries.