Transporting Biological Materials (local)

All biological materials must be appropriately packaged, labeled and transported in order to minimize the potential for environmental release.

Biological Materials:

Infectious Substances: viable microorganisms, including a bacterium, virus, recombinant, hybrid, or mutant that are known or reasonably believed to cause disease in humans or animals. Plant pathogens may require special packaging as well.

Diagnostic Specimens: any human or animal material including but not limited to, excreta, secreta, blood and its components, tissue, cells, or fluids.

Common examples: microbiological cultures, cell lines, DNA samples, blood and serum samples

Procedure for Preparing Biological Materials for Transport

  1. Primary container designed to contain the material. Do not use food containers or other containers not originally designed for laboratory storage purposes.
  2. Place primary sample containers into appropriate secondary container. If material is liquid or may release liquids, use leak – proof secondary container with secure lid.  
  3. Place enough absorbent material in the secondary container to absorb all free liquids in the event that primary containers rupture or break during transport.
  4. Place primary containers in secondary container in a manner that will reduce shock, rupture, and/or breakage. Multiple tubes should be separated by a rack or shock absorbent material, keeping the tubes from bumping one another, causing them to break.
  5. Label the outside of the secondary container with:
    1. Emergency contact information;
    2. General description of contents; and
    3. Biohazard symbol if the materials to be transported are classified as BSL-2.
  6. University – owned vehicle is required whenever possible for transport. Secure the container in a location in the vehicle whereby if an accident occurs, the container or its contents will not be an exposure risk to the driver or environment.  For example in a car it can be placed in the back seat or trunk, secured with bungee cords or seat belt to keep it upright and stable.
  7. Properly packaged and secured, a spill should NOT occur during transport. In the event of a spill:
    1. Outside of a building: isolate the area and contact EHS at 355-0153. Stay at spill site until EHS arrives.
    2. In a vehicle and spill contains known or suspected to contain pathogens: leave the vehicle with closed windows and locked doors. Contact EHS 355-0153 and stay at spill site until EHS arrives.