Lead acid battery regulations
Disclaimer: The information provided here is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only. Organisations must do their own research to understand their legal obligations and to ensure that they are compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. ABRI does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of reliance on this information.
STORAGE OF HAZARDOUS WASTES
All jurisdictions have environmental regulations that place a general duty of care on individuals to protect land, groundwater and the environment (air). Used lead acid batteries (ULAB) need to be carefully managed to avoid any pollution, for example by storing them under cover and in a bunded area. In some jurisdictions the storage of ULAB requires an EPA licence unless the quantity being stored is below a certain threshold.
TRANSPORT OF HAZARDOUS WASTES
A waste transport licence and a waste transport certificate are required for intrastate transport of ULAB in some jurisdictions. Contact your local environmental authority for more information.
Interstate transport of ULAB is governed by a national agreement – the National Environment Protection (Movement of Controlled Waste Between States and Territories) Measure – and administered by state government agencies. The interstate transport of ULAB requires (for each load of batteries):
• a consignment authorisation from the environmental protection agency in the destination state or territory
• a waste transport certificate from the agency in the originating state or territory and this must accompany the ULAB load in transit
• a permit/licence for the vehicle transporting the batteries.
The export of ULAB is regulated by the Australian Government under the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989, which meets Australia’s obligations under the Basel Convention. It requires an Export Licence. More information is available from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
TRANSPORT OF DANGEROUS GOODS BY ROAD AND RAIL
Lead acid batteries are classified as a Dangerous Good under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code) – UN No. 2794, Class 8 (corrosive). Any organisation involved in transporting ULAB must comply with the Code.
A dangerous goods (DG) driver’s licence is not required for ULAB as these are regarded as ‘packages’ (regardless of the quantity being carried).
STORAGE AND HANDLING OF DANGEROUS GOODS
The general obligations for any organisation handling dangerous goods (including ULAB) are outlined in the National Code for Storage and Handling of Workplace Dangerous Goods. There are regulations and codes in each jurisdiction governing the storage and handling of dangerous goods.
To improve national harmonisation, the Model Work Health and Safety Act and Model Work, Health and Safety Regulations were approved by most State and Territory Ministers in 2011. State and territory laws are being amended in most jurisdictions to reflect the model law, with some necessary local amendments. Links to the government safety regulators in each state and territory can be found here.
The advice provided in the following Australian Standards should also be observed where relevant:
• AS 3780:1994 The storage and handling of corrosive substances
• AS/NZS 3833:2007 The storage and handling of mixed classes of dangerous goods, in packages and intermediate bulk containers.
CONTACT DETAILS FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES (HAZARDOUS WASTE)
NSW Environment Protection Authority
Ph (02) 9995 5555
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
1300 130 372
1800 372 842
Department of Environmental Regulation (Licenses and Works Approval)
(08) 6467 5000
Environment Protection Authority (Licensing & Regulatory Services Branch)
Environment Protection Authority (Waste Management Section)
Phone: 03 6233 6209
Department of Lands, Planning and Environment (Environmental Operations)
(08) 8924 4218
Australian Capital Territory
Environment Protection Authority
13 22 81