Amazon guilty of shipping dangerous goods
Amazon guilty of shipping dangerous goods Getty Images

Amazon has been found guilty of shipping dangerous goods by air in and out of the UK between January 2014 and June 2015. The shipments included lithium-ion batteries and flammable aerosols.

The online retailer was found guilty on 20 September by a jury at Southwark Crown Court on four counts of causing dangerous goods to be delivered for carriage in an aircraft, the Guardian reported.

According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the four offences come under the Air Navigation (Dangerous Gods) Regulations 2002.

The regulations state the dangerous goods need to be carried by air in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. The person or company sending the products needs to include details about how they must be classified, packed, marked, labelled and documented.

Kate Staples, CAA's general counsel, in a statement said: "The safety of aviation and the public is paramount and that's why there are important international and domestic restrictions to prohibit the shipping of certain goods that pose a flight safety risk.

"These dangerous goods include lithium batteries, which are banned from being transported as mail or cargo on a passenger aircraft unless they are installed in or packed with equipment," said Staples.

"We work closely with retailers and online traders to ensure they understand the regulations and have robust processes in place so their items can be shipped safely.

"Whenever issues are identified, we work with companies to make sure those issues are addressed appropriately. But if improvements are not made, we have to consider enforcement action and as this case demonstrates, we are determined to protect the public by enforcing the dangerous goods regulations," said Staples.

The regulations further suggest all the lithium cells and batteries could be shipped on any company's own air cargo, but they are prohibited on-board passenger aircraft. In addition to that all the packages meant for air transport, must have a Cargo Aircraft Only label, along with the hazard communication labelling.

Amazon in its response said it has technologies to detect potential shipping hazards. An Amazon spokesman told the Guardian: "The safety of the public, our customers, employees and partners is an absolute priority. We ship millions of products every week and are confident in the sophisticated technologies and processes we have developed to detect potential shipping hazards. We are constantly working to further improve and will continue to work with the CAA in this area."