FAA proposes fining Amazon $350,000 for hazardous package

Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:07pm EDT
 
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday it is proposing a $350,000 civil fine against Amazon.com Inc for shipping a product that allegedly violated hazardous materials regulations and injured several UPS workers who handled the package.

The penalty is the largest fine the FAA has proposed imposing on Amazon, which the agency said has had a series of at least 24 hazardous materials violations in recent years.

The FAA alleged that on Oct. 15, 2014, Amazon sent a UPS package with a one-gallon container of "Amazing! LIQUID FIRE," a corrosive drain cleaner for transportation by air from Louisville, Kentucky, to Boulder, Colorado.

The package leaked and nine UPS employees who came into contact with the box reported feeling a burning sensation and were treated with a chemical wash, the FAA said.

The FAA said the shipment was improperly packaged, not accompanied by a declaration for dangerous goods and not properly labeled to indicate the hazardous contents.

Amazon declined to answer questions about the incident or prior fines, but 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."

UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot in a statement declined to discuss the incident "other than to say our employees were fine after receiving treatment."

UPS is committed to the safe transportation of hazardous materials, he said. "We expect our customers to follow hazmat regulations, and when incidents or discrepancies occur, we report those situations," Mangeot said.   Continued...

 
Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 29, 2016.    REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo