• Press Release

December 10, 2020

Underwriters Laboratories Publishes Safety Standard for Battery Fire Containment Products

A woman reads a tablet device on an airplane

UL 5800 addresses the evaluation of products intended to mitigate lithium-ion battery fires on airplanes

NORTHBROOK, Ill. December 10, 2020 – Underwriters Laboratories announced today that it published ANSI/CAN/UL 5800, Standard for Safety for Battery Fire Containment Products. The Standard provides test methodology and performance criteria to evaluate products used by airline personnel to contain portable electronic devices (PEDs) in the event of a battery fire.

The Standard was developed after members of the aviation industry asked Underwriters Laboratories to create a safety standard for products that mitigate smoke and flames from lithium-ion battery fires occurring during flight. Damaged lithium-ion batteries in devices such as laptops and cell phones can experience overheating during a condition called thermal runaway, leading to the potential for fires – a major hazard on an airplane. 

“We are honored that members of the aviation industry looked to Underwriters Laboratories to lead development of a safety standard for battery fire containment products,” said Phil Piqueira, vice president of global standards for Underwriters Laboratories. “We are dedicated to improving safety and security in our society, and air travel safety is critical to that mission.”

In developing the Standard, Underwriters Laboratories formed a Standards Technical Panel (STP) of individuals and organizations with interest or technical expertise in the subject category. Participants included international representatives from airlines, shipping companies and other aviation-related organizations, along with government bodies and containment product developers.

Using STP and stakeholder input, UL created a repeatable and reproducible standardized test methodology. A human interaction study conducted by Emergo by UL along with other advisors and subject matter experts from UL produced test data to develop some of the construction, testing, marking, instruction and packaging requirements in the Standard. The ease of use of the containment product and personal protective equipment (PPE) are covered by the Standard. It does not provide guidance for containment products intended for use in cargo shipments.

The Standard is nationally recognized and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), offering greater consistency in safety of battery fire containment products across both countries and jurisdictions. The binational Standard eliminates the risk of de-harmonization as updates are implemented, while also allowing manufacturers to design and evaluate products for both countries.

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the UL public safety mission through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. We conduct rigorous independent research and analyze safety data, convene experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide safe commercialization of evolving technologies. We foster communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods to summits of world leaders. Our organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security, and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. To learn more, visit UL.org.