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  • Writer's pictureTim Spears

New York Senate Takes Steps to Enhance Safety Standards for Lithium-Ion Batteries



Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized the way we power our devices, from smartphones to electric vehicles. However, their rise in popularity has brought significant risks, including severe property damage and even fatalities due to faulty batteries and improper usage. Recognizing these hazards, the New York State Senate has passed a legislative package aimed at enhancing safety standards for lithium-ion batteries, particularly in micromobility devices like e-bikes and scooters. This blog post explores the key components of this legislation, its impact on fire prevention and community risk reduction, and what building and fire safety professionals need to know.


Watch the N.Y. Senate Vote on the Legislative Package


Addressing the Risk of Lithium-Ion Batteries


Lithium-ion batteries, while efficient, pose several hazards, including the potential for overheating, fires, and explosions. These risks are exacerbated by improper charging, poor-quality batteries, and lack of adequate safety measures. The New York State Senate's new legislation targets these issues head-on, setting higher standards to protect both property and lives.


Key Components of the Legislation


The legislative package includes several critical measures:


  1. Lithium-Ion Battery Mitigation: Sponsored by Senator Iwen Chu, S7746A requires businesses to have on-hand protection and suppression measures for fires, including battery cases and fire extinguishers.

  2. Plug Warning Tag: S7760A, also sponsored by Senator Chu, mandates a red tag on charging cords of micromobility devices, warning users to unplug when not in use.

  3. Manufacturing and Sale Standards: Sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, S154F prohibits the sale of lithium-ion batteries for micromobility devices unless they meet specified safety standards.

  4. Fire Prevention Study: S6660, sponsored by Senator Monica Martinez, authorizes a study on lithium-ion battery fires and prevention.

  5. E-bike Operations Notice: S7744C requires retailers to inform customers that e-bikes cannot be used on sidewalks or highways with speed limits over 30 mph.

  6. Safety Program and Resources: Sponsored by Senator Cordell Cleare, S6809B and S8743 establish a program to provide new lithium-ion batteries at reduced or no cost to eligible individuals and direct the development of safety resources and protocols.


Why This Legislation Matters


Enhancing Fire Prevention and Community Risk Reduction


The primary goal of this legislation is to enhance fire prevention and community risk reduction. By setting stricter safety standards and ensuring proper usage and handling of lithium-ion batteries, the legislation aims to reduce the incidents of fires and explosions. This is particularly crucial as the popularity of e-bikes and scooters continues to grow.


How the Legislation Works


Implementation and Compliance


Businesses will need to comply with new requirements for fire suppression and protection measures. Retailers must provide clear warnings and information to consumers, ensuring that the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries are well understood. The manufacturing standards will push for higher quality and safer batteries in the market, addressing one of the root causes of battery-related incidents.


Q: How will this legislation impact consumers?


A: Consumers will benefit from increased safety and reduced risk of battery-related incidents. They will also receive better information on the safe usage of their devices.


How Can You Help?


Building and fire safety professionals play a crucial role in community risk reduction. How can you contribute to this effort? By staying informed about the latest safety standards, educating your community, and advocating for compliance with these new regulations, you can help mitigate the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries.


Conclusion


The new legislation passed by the New York State Senate marks a significant step forward in enhancing safety standards for lithium-ion batteries. By addressing the hazards associated with these batteries and promoting fire prevention and community risk reduction, this legislative package aims to protect lives and property. As building and fire safety professionals, it is our responsibility to stay informed, comply with these new standards, and continue to prioritize the safety of our communities.


References


New York State Senate. (2024). Senate Advances Slate of Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Standards. Retrieved from New York State Senate Website

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