These days, a wide range of toys, electronics, mobile devices, power tools, vehicles, and other items rely on batteries for functionality and portability. Numerous types of batteries are available to power all these products, ranging from highly dangerous and corrosive lead-acid versions to common household alkaline ones.
Each type of battery is held to specific shipping regulations though some are more stringent than others. When shipping batteries of any kind along with your products, certain measures must be taken in advance to ensure the safety of anyone handling them and avoid causing damage.
Delving into Battery Shipping Regulations
When it comes to shipping batteries, a number of factors come into play. Type, chemical composition, internal volume, potential hazards and number of batteries being sent out in a single shipment are among the aspects used to determine how they should be shipped and whether specially designed battery packages may need to be used.
Typical household batteries, ranging from AAA to D, nine-volt and button-cell varieties, are considered relatively safe, but they pose a risk of sparks and fire. If crushed during shipping, they may also be dangerous to handle and cause damage to the items they’re shipped with as well as other products in transit.
In most cases, these types of batteries should either be left in their original packaging or repackaged separately. While bubble wrap may suffice in some instances, sturdy, impact-resistant cases may be required in others.
According to UPS guidelines for these types of batteries, other specifications may apply as well. Terminals should be protected to reduce the risk of sparks and fire. Any metal tools or other reactive items shipped with standard batteries should be packaged separately in their own right or kept clear of the batteries themselves during transit.
Those shipped outside the United States must be accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet detailing the types of batteries included and how to handle or dispose of them should any problems arise.
Lithium-ion batteries are used in a wide range of applications, including smartphones, laptops and other electronics. Despite recent improvements in their design and safety, these batteries are still considered volatile and classified as dangerous goods.
Individual packages are restricted to no more than two lithium-ion batteries during shipment. These types of batteries must be left in the devices they’re shipped with. Those devices must be powered off and packaged in a way that ensures they won’t accidentally be turned on during storage and transit. More in-depth information about shipping and air transport of lithium-ion batteries is available via the International Air Transport Association.
Lead-acid, wet-cell and lithium-ion batteries are often used to power automobiles, RVs, ATVs, marine vehicles and riding lawnmowers. They’re classified as dangerous goods and held to strict shipping regulations. With a few exceptions, these types of batteries can only be shipped via ground transport and must be packaged in sturdy, corrosion-resistant materials. They must also be clearly labeled with information about their potential safety hazards.
In a Nutshell
These are only a few of the different types of batteries on the market today and the basic shipping regulations applying to them. Dozens of factors can play into specific situations and bring about further restrictions.
Be sure to check with authorities and shipping companies before sending any battery through air or ground transport to be sure you’re in compliance with all applicable regulations. Otherwise, significant fines, penalties and safety issues could ensue.