Hazmat: Why Is That Box Dripping?

“FAA Proposes Large Fines For Shippers Of Hazardous Material.” Several developments this month have highlighted the FAA’s continued crackdown on shippers of unmarked and undeclared hazardous material.

On April 1, 2014, the FAA proposed a $325,000 civil penalty against Alfa Chemical for allegedly shipping Arcolin on two separate occasions.  Acrolin is a contact herbicide that is highly poisonous and extremely flammable.  FedEx and FAA personnel first became aware of the shipment when it began giving off a strong odor. http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=16054

In addition, Amazon.Com Inc. recently paid a $91,000 civil penalty for allegedly shipping a package that contained a flammable liquid adhesive.  The package developed a leak in transit and was discovered by a FedEx employee.  In both incidents, the FAA claimed that the employees involved in packaging and shipping the products were inadequately trained and were unfamiliar with the restrictions on shipping these materials by air. http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=16074&omniRss=press_releasesAoc&cid=102_P_R

Noteworthy is the fact that neither company on the receiving end of the penalty is in the business of aviation so if you ship products, take heed!

It is essential that companies have a well-crafted system of supervision and training that ensures everyone can identify the items in the company’s inventory that cannot be shipped by air.

All shippers, as well as airlines, both cargo and passenger, should go back and verify that they have in place and are following best practices in how they package, as well as how they accept, items for carriage on an aircraft.

Even if there’s no accident, the cost of failing to be compliant can be very high.

(Originally posted April 6, 2014)

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