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Fine of $350,000 Proposed against Amazon by FAA for Hazardous Package

Fine of $350,000 Proposed against Amazon by FAA for Hazardous Package
A $350,000 civil fine against Inc is being proposed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the authority announced very recently. The allegation against Amazon Inc. is that it had violated the hazardous materials regulations by shipping a product which resulted in the injury of several UPS workers who handled the package.
The agency claimed that this is not a one off case for Amazon and the global online retailing giant has had a series of at least 24 hazardous materials violations in recent years. This has resulted in the FAA proposing the imposition of the largest fine that has yet been imposed on the company.
A one-gallon container of "Amazing! LIQUID FIRE," a corrosive drain cleaner, was shipped by Amazon for transportation by air from Louisville, Kentucky, to Boulder, Colorado via a UPS package on October 25, 2014, the FAA alleged.
The FAA said that nine UPS employees who came into contact with the box reported feeling a burning sensation and were treated with a chemical wash after the one gallon package allegedly leaked and let out the highly corrosive contents.
The shipment was not properly labeled to indicate the hazardous contents, was not accompanied by a declaration for dangerous goods and was improperly packaged which led to the accident, the FAA said.
Amazon said in a written statement that "we ship tens of millions of products every day and have developed sophisticated technologies to detect potential shipping hazards and use any defects as an opportunity for continuous improvement. We will continue to partner with the FAA in this area" but the company declined to answer questions about the incident or prior fines that have been imposed on it for similar violations.
"Other than to say our employees were fine after receiving treatment," UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot in a statement declined to discuss the incident. He said that UPS is committed to the safe transportation of hazardous materials.
"We expect our customers to follow hazmat regulations, and when incidents or discrepancies occur, we report those situations," Mangeot said.
Amazon employees who handled the package had not received required hazardous materials training and Amazon failed to provide emergency response information with the package, the FAA alleged.
The government found Amazon had violated the hazardous materials regulations 24 other times from February 2013 to September 2015 and hence was seeking a total of nearly $1.3 million in fines, the FAA said. The FAA said in its notice of violation that in at least 15 instances there was leaking of hazardous material that were sent for transportation by Amazon.
Since the FAA does not issue press releases for fines below $50,000, it was not clear how many total times Amazon paid fines or admitted responsibility, an FAA spokesman said. However for a 2013 incident, the company did pay $91,000 in April 2014. The agency is continuing to investigate Amazon’s compliance with hazardous shipment rules.
After Amazon employees improperly shipped a package in 2013 containing flammable liquid adhesive by air on Federal Express from Whitestown, Indiana, to Boulder, Colorado, the company paid a $91,000 fine to the FAA in April 2014.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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