Amazon.com was recently fined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for violating Hazardous Materials Regulations in a shipment. It wasn’t the first time the online retailer has run afoul of the regs.
On Oct. 15, 2014, Amazon used the United Parcel Service (UPS) to ship a package containing a one-gallon container of “Amazing! LIQUID FIRE,” a corrosive drain cleaner. The package was shipped by air from Louisville, KY, to Boulder, CO.
While being transported, some of the drain cleaner leaked through the box. Nine UPS employees who handled the box reported feeling a burning sensation and were treated with a chemical wash. UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot told Reuters that the employees were fine after receiving treatment.
The FAA alleges the shipment wasn’t:
- properly packaged
- accompanied by a Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods, and
- properly marked or labeled to indicate the hazardous nature of the contents.
Amazon also failed to provide emergency response information with the package and train Amazon employees who handled the package on hazardous materials.
Amazon has a long history of violating the FAA’s Hazardous Materials Regs. From February 2013 to September 2015 alone, Amazon violated the regs 24 other times, leading to total fines of $1.3 million. In at least 15 of those cases, hazardous material leaked. This recent fine is the largest one the FAA has imposed on Amazon, according to Reuters.
The FAA is continuing to investigate Amazon’s compliance with the Hazardous Materials Regs applicable to air transportation. Amazon has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.
The FAA is stepping up enforcement of its Hazardous Materials Regs. In 2015, the FAA doled out more than $4.5 million in fines for improper shipments of hazardous materials aboard airplanes, increasing from $3.4 million in 2014, according to the Dallas Morning News.