Airplane Fires Tied to Lithium-battery Valuables Prompt New UN Rule
A United nations panel is calling for tougher examinations and detailed labeling of air shipments of lithium batteries following two incidents in which airplane were destroyed when shipment shipments burst into flames. The Dangerous Goods Panel at the UN's International City Aviation Organization agreed Friday to the new standards, said Mark Rogers, who heads hazardous-materials handling issues for the Air Line Pilots Association union.
The action can result in more tough U. S. rules for battery shipments. Congress earlier this month passed an aviation bill constraining U. S. regulators from imposing rules stricter than those set by the ICAO. Smaller rules offered by the Department of Transportation stalled following industry questions that they would lead to higher consumer costs.
"I've been working on lithium batteries for 10 years and this is the biggest development to date, inches said Rogers, who serves on the 19-member ICAO panel.
Without new safety standards, lithium batteries that can in an instant combust were planned to destroy one U. S. : registered valuables jet every other year, according to a research commissioned by U. S. and Canadian aviation regulators. Shipments of lithium batteries offering those used in mobile phones, capsules and computers have been believed of causing two U. S. cargo-jet accidents since 2006.
The Common Battery Association, which represents companies such as Apple Inc. and Panasonic Corp., said in an e- mail statement Feb .. 13 that the ICAO panel's recommendations were a "reasonable compromise. inches
New Rules 'Imperative'
A group prompted the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to take in the ICAO standards, according to the statement.
"It is imperative that countries strictly implement these new regulations that go into affect on Jan 1, 2013, or the hard work by the ICAO Panel will be for naught, inches it said in the statement.
The group previously said the offered U. S. regulations were too costly and wouldn't improve safety. The ICAO standards are less strict than the pipeline agency's proposal.
Lithium batteries for products ranging from hearing aids to laptops can be shipped on valuables aeroplanes with few rules today.
The U. S. Federal Aviation Administration banned passenger travellers from carrying non-rechargeable lithium batteries in 2004 because they if they catch fire, flames cannot be stopped by valuables pocket extinguishers.
Packages containing as much as 66 pounds (30 kilos) of common lithium-ion batteries can be carried as valuables on passenger travellers under U. S. regulations.
Under the offered ICAO standards, all lithium battery shipments should be defined as hazardous material, Rogers said. Companies that wants to ship batteries must train employees on the way to handle the battery shipments.
Airline carriers such as Usa Continental Holdings Inc. 's Usa Airline carriers or FedEx Corp. it is fair to inspect the battery shipments before running them on a planes and after they are removed, Rogers said.
Pilots would also be acquainted when lithium batteries are loaded on a flight, he said.
The new standard would exempt shipments of two or fewer batteries from the requirements as well as devices that have installed batteries.
The ICAO panel's recommendation will now be treated by the organization, Stephane Dubois, a spokesman, said by phone. It will end up being the international standard Jan. 1 if approved, she said.
Three pilots on a Usa Parcel Service Inc. Boeing Corp. DC- 8 barely escaped on Feb .. 7, 2006, after fire broke out as they acknowledged Philadelphia, a U. S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation found. The jet contained "numerous" lithium batteries in computers and other devices, according to the NTSB. The investigation, which focused on batteries, was ineffectual to determine the cause of the fire.
A UPS Boeing 747-400 that caught fire twenty-two minutes after it left Dubai on Sept. 3, 2010, was carrying more than seventy eight, 000 lithium batteries, according to a preliminary report by the General City Aviation Authority of the Usa Arabic Emirates. The jet crashed at a military base while pilots tried to make a crisis landing. Both pilots died.