WASHINGTON, DC—Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) President Edward Wytkind issued this statement following TTD’s submission of comments to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration pertaining to the in-flight transport of lithium cells and batteries (Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0095 (HM-224F)):
“Fire is the most serious threat to an aircraft in flight, especially when it is due to an unknown origin or cannot be controlled. That is why guarding against the proven hazards of poorly regulated lithium batteries in air transport must be a government and industry priority.
“Among the changes we would like to see addressed through regulation include categorizing lithium batteries as dangerous goods, improved notification to crewmembers when batteries are in shipments, better labeling and upgraded packaging standards. But due to a measure included in the recently enacted FAA reauthorization legislation, our regulators are limited to harmonizing U.S. rules to those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which has made improvements to its technical instructions.
“We support harmonization of the proposed regulations with the new ICAO guidance. But more must and can be done in the interest of air safety.
“The new provisions don’t place restrictions on the total quantity of lithium batteries nor their location on the aircraft, and they don’t address batteries contained in or with equipment. We will continue to push for additional measures in the future to achieve a higher level of safety.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, motor carrier, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit us at www.ttd.org or on Facebook and Twitter.