By Rick Foote, Senior Environmental Compliance Advisor
All batteries are subject to requirements in the DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations.
This is because they have two types of hazards:
(1) The chemicals or other materials contained in the battery, and
(2) The electrical potential of the battery.
All batteries must be packaged for transportation in the following manner:
Lithium Batteries-The terminals must either be taped or placed in a plastic bag to ensure no contact between battery terminals
Wet Batteries (electrolyte/alkaline)-These types of batteries must be packed alone and not with any other materials. The terminals must be protected to ensure they do not come in contact with other batteries. The exposed terminals can be protected with non-conductive caps, or non-conductive tape.
Sodium Batteries-These types of batteries must be secured to prevent shifting while in a vehicle. They also must have adequate ventilation and separation between batteries to ensure they do not overheat. Additionally, if there is other freight on the vehicle the batteries must be stored no less than 1.6 feet away.
Dry batteries (alkaline, nickel cadmium (NiCad), nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and silver-zinc batteries) - These types of batteries are not covered under the Hazardous Materials regulations as long as they follow these requirements:
- Packaged as to prevent the buildup of heat.
- This can be accomplished by one of the following methods:
- Taping the terminals and ensuring that the container is compatible with the batteries.
- Placing the batteries in a plastic bag
- Separating the batteries individually