The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $350,000 civil fine against Amazon.com for shipping a dangerous product that injured at least nine UPS workers who handled the package. According to a Reuters news report, this is the largest penalty the FAA has proposed against Amazon, which has apparently had at least 24 hazardous materials violations in recent years.
Improper Packaging, Lack of Warning
The FAA alleges that on October 15, 2014, Amazon sent a UPS package with a one-gallon container of the product called “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 had to be treated with a chemical wash.
The FAA said the shipment was not packed properly and was not accompanied by the legally required dangerous goods declaration. It was also not properly labeled to warn handlers about the hazardous contents, the FAA said. The agency is also continuing to investigate Amazon’s compliance with hazardous shipment rules.
Chemical burn injuries can cause severe injuries. Chemicals that make contact with the skin or are inhaled can cause injuries to the skin and internal organs. Signs of chemical burns may include pain, rashes, blisters, difficulty breathing, fainting, seizures, dizziness, headaches or allergic reactions.
In cases where chemical burns are caused by dangerous or defective products, injured victims can seek compensation from the manufacturers for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, treatment costs, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. Plaintiffs in product defect cases must prove that the product was defective; that it caused their injuries; and that they suffered damages as a result of the defective product.
In cases where victims are on the job, they can seek monetary support through workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, they may be able to file a product liability lawsuit (third-party claim) against the manufacturer of the hazardous product, which caused their on-the-job injuries. An experienced product defect lawyer will be able to advise injured victims in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.