Emery Worldwide Airlines Sentenced for Violations of Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

Dec. 30, 2003
U.S. District Judge Walter Herbert Rice has ordered Emery Worldwide Airlines Inc. to pay the maximum $6 million fine - $500,000 for each of 12 counts of violating the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act - and placed the company on probation for three years.

During its period of probation, Emery will implement and maintain a compliance program designed to detect and prevent future violations.

"With the sheer amount of hazardous materials begin shipped on our nation's infrastructure, we must track down and bring to justice those who violate our transportation laws," said Tom Sansonetti, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "[This] sentencing sends a strong message that this administration is focused on reducing the potentially sever consequences of a hazardous materials incident."

On Sept. 30, 2003, Emery pled guilty to violating a DOT regulation that requires the operator of an aircraft transporting hazardous materials to give the pilot in command of the aircraft written notification of hazardous material loaded on the plane. By its plea, Emery admitted that on 12 occasions between November 1998 and July 1999, it transported hazardous material on aircraft leaving the hub without providing the required written notification to the pilot. The type of hazardous materials involved included freight classified as flammable liquid, non-flammable gas, explosive and radioactive materials, and miscellaneous dangerous goods. Gregory G. Lockhart, United States attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, added that with this case, the government has "taken a great step forward in protecting the safety of the people involved in the cargo transportation industry," adding, "Other companies in the industry are aware of these proceedings and should learn from the mistakes of Emery."

Emery Worldwide Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of CNF Inc. specializing in air transportation services for business-to-business shippers of heavyweight cargo. Its major operational hub is near the Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio. Emery's operations included the transportation of freight classified as hazardous material under regulations issued by the Department of Transportation.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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