Amazon may be fined $350k for improperly shipping 'liquid fire'

Amazon could be hit with a $350,000 fine from the FAA for allegedly shipping a package that contained the corrosive drain cleaner "Amazing! LIQUID FIRE." The package is said to have been shipped in violation of regulations against hazardous materials, and it reportedly resulted in multiple UPS workers sustaining minor injuries; they had to be treated with a chemical wash after touching the leaking package, which caused a burning sensation.

The incident is said to have taken place way back in October 2014, and it revolved around a single one-gallon tub of the aforementioned drain cleaner. The product is said to have been packaged in a box and shipped out via UPS. Because of the shipping method selected, the package was shipped via air from Kentucky to Colorado.

While it could be shipped by air, it would have required proper packaging, which the FAA said it did not, as well as a label making it known as a hazardous material and another declaration of it being "dangerous goods." This is not the first accusation against Amazon over the shipment of hazardous goods allegedly without proper steps — however, this is the largest fine the FAA has proposed against the company.

Between February 2013 and September 2015, the FAA says Amazon had violated 24 hazardous materials regulations. Of those, there were 15 minimum instances of the material leaking. Whether Amazon was fined for those instances is unclear — only large fines are made public by the FAA. Amazon has had to pay some publicly disclosed fines in the past, however, such as $91,000 in April 2014.

Amazon has not commented on the matter. Whether the FAA will proceed with its proposed $350k fine is not clear.

SOURCE: Reuters