Publication 52 Reminder: Lithium Battery Markings


On August 17, 2017, the Postal Service™ revised Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, to provide new mailing standards for mailpieces containing lithium batteries. In the article titled “Publication 52 Revision: New Mailing Standards for Lithium Batteries,” in Postal Bulletin 22474 (8-17-17, pages 4–12), the Postal Service announced the elimination of the text marking option for mailpieces required to bear, or optionally permitted to bear, lithium battery markings under Publication 52. To drive consistency in marking requirements in the various modes of transportation, the Postal Service stated its intention to require Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved lithium battery marks when these marks are required or optionally applied.

On March 30, 2017 (82 FR 15796), the DOT’s rulemaking agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), published a final rule titled Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards (RRR). In that final rule, PHMSA announced a transition period (ending December 31, 2018) to permit shippers adequate time to transition to the new lithium battery mark and exhaust existing stocks of preprinted packaging.

On January 1, 2019, PHMSA will require the use of the new Global Harmonized System (GHS) lithium battery mark shown here. As a result, effective January 1, 2019, all mailpieces required to bear or optionally bearing lithium battery marks must also display a properly completed GHS lithium battery mark, replacing the “*” with the appropriate UN number(s) and the “**” with the telephone number for additional information.

Lithium Battery image.

Employees must familiarize themselves with this new mark before the mandatory compliance date and ensure that local mailers are aware of the new marking requirement as soon as possible.