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SAFETY BULLETIN-Unigroup (Lithium Batteries)

Number

2016020032

Date:

02/26/2016

From:

UniGroup, Inc. - Loss Control

To:

Mayflower Operations/Safety, United Operations/Safety, Home Office Management, All United Canadian Members, All United Domestic Agents, All Mayflower Canadian Members, All Mayflower Domestic Agents

Subject:

Self Balancing Scooters (AKA Hoverboard) Guidance on Transporting

Information:

Agents have been inquiring about self-balancing scooters, popularly called Hoverboards, following several media reports of them bursting into flames.

To reduce the risk of van fires, agents are reminded to follow the UniGroup Quality Assurance Labor Training guidelines found in Packer Module #1-Non Allowables. Batteries from all electronic devices should be removed prior to loading. Removing the battery allows for transport of the scooter. The lithium-ion batteries from these scooters should not be transported in a household goods shipment. Safety is our number one priority and this preventative measure is a prudent step in protecting our customers' possessions, van operators, laborers and agent equipment as well as the motoring public.

This van line announcement concerns the lithium-ion batteries found in self-balancing scooters only and does not affect any other product.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) continues to investigate safety concerns surrounding this product but has yet to issue any new regulations. The CPSC has revealed there are cheap, low-quality brands on the market containing defective batteries bearing counterfeit Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) labels.

Several different models of self-balancing scooters are being sold with Hoverboard being just one manufacturer’s brand name. They were a popular holiday gift spurred by the 30th anniversary release of the Back to the Future movies. The CPSC investigation has focused on the lithium-ion batteries that power the device. Earlier, this type of battery made headlines when some caught fire aboard commercial passenger planes and electric cars.

Compared to their size and light weight, lithium-ion batteries generate high energy due to the very reactive chemical substances from which they are made. The CPSC’s initial investigations focused on fires occurring in units with defective batteries and during charging. The CPSC also suspects units became damaged when the maximum weight allowance for riders was exceeded, causing the lithium-ion battery terminals to come in contact with its circuit board.

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