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Regulations exist on the packing and transportation of diagnostic and clinical specimens

  • The primary container (bijoux or similar) should be screwed tight, labelled and placed in an intact plastic bag.
  • A label indicating degree of risk (e.g. High risk for infectious substances) should be affixed to both specimen and request form. The latter should include any other relevant information and include adequate clinical details to indicate level of suspicion.
  • Under no circumstances should the request form be placed in the same bag or compartment as the specimen.
  • The bag should be sealed, using tape or heat sealer. Pins, staples and metal clips should not be used. A separate bag should be used for each specimen.
  • Each specimen must be placed in a leak-proof secondary container with sufficient absorbent material to absorb all the contents should leakage occur.
  • Each specimen must be packaged individually- i.e. three specimens, three separate packages.
  • The secondary container should be externally disinfected - e.g. by wiping with hypochlorite (1,000ppm).

Health and Safety Executive. Transportation of infectious substances

Department for Transport. Packaging and transport requirements for patient samples – UN3373; 2020. Guidance ont he transport of patient specimens suspected of containing coronavirus (COVID-19). 

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