Why Do Lithium Batteries Require A Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

Why Do Lithium Batteries Require A Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

Have you ever heard of lithium batteries? It is a rechargeable battery with enclosed lithium ions where the lithium ions shift from the negative to the positive electrode while de-energizing and vice versa while energizing. So, you can say that lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are one of the most advanced inventions of electrochemistry. 

Considering other rechargeable batteries like nickel-metal-hydride or nickel-cadmium, these lithium batteries have enormous advantages and can use various types of organic compounds as electrodes. However, they generally don’t fail and are safer to use; they are also subject to an explosion due to overheating because of defects or internal damage.

Products that contain lithium-ion batteries abide by consumer safety laws but generally do not consider Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Many companies offer SDS services only on request to provide SDS for Li-Ion batteries. In this post, let us see why lithium batteries require a safety data sheet (SDS).

OSHA On Lithium-Ion Batteries:

You may wonder why lithium batteries need to be adhered to by SDS. It is essential to know that many home appliances include lithium batteries for their effective operation. So, suppose you are buying a drill for your home use. In that case, it is enough that it follows Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), whereas, in the case of the workplace, it should meet the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) requirements.

OSHA, in December 2015, officially issued a report on whether that lithium-ion battery can be exempted from the SDS requirement and considered a manufactured article. However, the interpretation, the lithium batteries could not meet the “article” definition because they have the potential to break, leak, and spill.

The exact scenario was explained with 2004 lead-acid batteries, which cannot be considered a manufactured article because of their spill, leak and hydrogen release, which can lead to fire explosion upon the ignition. Similarly, these lithium-ion batteries, even though enclosed, can leak, break, or spill and affect employees with potential health hazards. 

Implication Of SDS:

The interpretation from OSHA changed the traditional mindset of battery manufacturers. However, many manufacturing companies state lithium batteries as “Article” in their respective SDS and are exempted from Safety Data Sheets requirements in the workplace. 

A lithium-ion battery SDS should never be mentioned as an “Article” and be exempted from SDS regulation as it does not meet the “Article” definition requirements in the workplace. Lithium-ion batteries are exempted from SDS regulation under Hazard Communication Standard only in the case of consumer products. 

It is also to be noted that the U.S Department of Transportation and Canada have a separate checklist for lithium battery transit.

Are you working with lithium batteries? Make sure your safety with Sunstream for efficient SDS management. You can also approach us for compliance services like conflict mineral and REACH compliance for an effective supply chain process.