UN3373 Standard

Sample Transport Are You At Risk

How to package & transport biological samples safely and in accordance with the UN3373 Regulations.

  • Supporting Catagory B Sample transport compliance
  • Transportation Packaging for Road and Air
  • A range of options for Secondary & Outer packaging
  • Convenient, Time-Saving & Cost-Effective Solutions to ensure your compliance to the legal requirements.

Whether for medical diagnostic purposes, clinical trials or research, getting  patient and other biologically hazardous samples safely from their source to the laboratory can be problematic. Biological specimens fall under the Dangerous Goods Regulations since they may contain pathogens. Their transport is strictly controlled and it is a legal and mandatory requirement to comply with the regulations.  This ensures that all such parcels, and their contents, reach their destination in good condition, whilst not endangering the environment or anyone who comes into contact with them during their journey.

Samples such as blood,  tissue, excreta, secreta etc. from humans or animals (which are not assigned to Category A, Infectious Substances), are considered to be Category B Biological  Substances. These are assigned to UN3373 and must be packaged according to the Dangerous Goods IATA (air) or ADR (road) Packing Instruction 650 for transport. Brennan & Company & Alpha Laboratories provides a wide range of sample packaging materials that help make your regulatory compliance convenient, consistent and cost-effective.

Key Requirements for Road Transport (ADR)

Packaging must be strong and of good quality to withstand vibration or changes in temperature, humidity or pressure encountered during transport.

It must prevent any loss of contents.

The P650 packaging instructions for liquid substances state:-

  1. The primary receptacle(s) shall be leak proof
  2. The secondary packaging shall be leak proof
  3. If multiple fragile primary receptacles are placed in a single secondary packaging, they shall be either individually wrapped or separated to prevent contact between them
  4. Absorbent material shall be placed between the primary receptacle(s) and the secondary packaging. The absorbent material shall be in quantity sufficient to absorb the entire contents of the primary receptacle(s) so that any release of the liquid substance will not compromise the integrity of the cushioning material or of the outer packaging
  5. The primary receptacle or the secondary packaging shall be capable of withstanding, without leakage, an internal pressure of 95 kPa (0.95 bar)

SpeciSafe® packs provide a safe, easy-to-use and economical solution to ensure UN3373 secondary sample packaging compliance. The unique, pre-moulded mailing packs combine an internally bonded super absorbent lining within a single piece shock-resistant container.
The multi-vial packs have the added advantage of incorporating separate casings to meet the regulatory requirement for separation of vials when packaged together. This is a great time saver, preventing the need to wrap each vial individually.
The SpeciSafe packs can be placed directly in a padded envelope or bag, ready for posting. What’s more, the dimensions of most SpeciSafe packs minimises postage costs. Depending on the sample vial size they can be mailed at large letter or small packet rate.
SpeciSafe packs are available in a range of designs to fit perfectly around commonly used 95 kPa sample vessels.

Benefits of SpeciSafe Packs

  • Shock resistant primary container protection
  • Built-in ultra-absorbent Gel Block Absolutely no leaks!
  • Clear plastic side enables visibility of sample labels, Easily read patient details
  • Visible spillage indication prior to opening, User protected in case of vial leakage
  • User friendly, quick and intuitive use
  • The pre-moulded packs keep multiple primary containers separated from each other
  • Compliant flat-pack design minimises postage costs

SpeciSafe® for Vacuum Blood Collection Type Tubes

If you are regularly mailing blood tubes, SpeciSafe provides a quick and easy solution to ensure safe and compliant transport. With SpeciSafe packs there is no need to wrap each individual tube separately in absorbent materials. Just place them in the SpeciSafe pack and seal ready for placing in a mailing envelope – time saving, convenient and compliant.
Various types of evacuating blood collection tubes are compatible with this range of SpeciSafe secondary mailing packs. These packs also accommodate microtubes, serum vials and cryovials.

SpeciSafe® for Screw Cap Microtubes or Serum Vials

SpeciSafe secondary mailing packs suitable for transporting blood serum type tubes or 0.5, 1.5 or 2.0ml microtubes.
SH1700SS and SH1800SS also include tube stands to secure tubes for opening on the bench.
SH1800SS can also be used to transport a single 1.2ml Monovette tube.

SpeciSafe for Universal Containers

Ultra-Absorbent Lining Eliminates Leakage

The unique feature of SpeciSafe packaging products is an internally bonded ultra-absorbent lining which soaks up any leakage in seconds.

The material is so absorbent that 1m2  can soak up as much as 20 litres of liquid.

Once the lining has absorbed its maximum amount of liquid, it becomes a watertight barrier and effectively seals the SpeciSafe pack preventing any leakage from the secondary container.

Mailing Bags and Envelopes to Complete your Sample Transport Solution

When a 95kPa primary container is used with SpeciSafe secondary packaging, the system meets the “rigid” requirements of the UN3373 regulations, hence only an outer flexible envelope is required to mail items by road.

These flexible envelopes are made from lightweight polyethylene and used together with SpeciSafe can help to minimise postage costs, enabling many sample packages to be mailed at large letter rather than parcel rates.

UN3373 Compliant Biological Sample Transport Packaging for all Container Types

Even if your specimen container does not fit a standard SpeciSafe®  pack, the extensive range of other biological sample packaging materials from Alpha Laboratories provides totally flexibile and convenient solutions for transporting all types of laboratory sample containers by road or air. Always follow UN3373 guidelines to ensure the correct packaging materials are used for your sample type, volume and transport method.

Customised  Sample Transport  Packs for Clinical Trials & Contract Research Projects

Clinical trials programmes usually require the movement of biological samples from the patient or clinic to the testing laboratory. Whether National or Global projects, transporting clinical trial samples such as blood, urine, faeces or tissue, safely, securely and in adherence to current  regulations is essential.

Alpha Laboratories1   SpeciSafe® packs are  the ideal, simple one piece packaging solution that ensures complete safety for clinical, laboratory and transportation personnel.

They can be used by Clinical Trial Central Laboratories, Diagnostics Reference Laboratories, CROs, plus Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies for their clinical kit preparation and regular distribution needs.

SpeciSafe can be supplied  in custom designed packs as a supply chain logistics solution for clinical trials and contract research projects in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and laboratory industries.

The Complete Solution – Off-the-Shelf or Customised for You

Alpha Laboratories can provide a complete solution for your specimen transport needs, combining SpeciSafe packaging  with the primary sample containers, Mail Tuff envelopes, Biohazard bags and labelling according to the UN3373 standard.

Envelopes can even be provided with customised labels to include your required address and unique Royal Mail business reply reference. Contact us to discuss your needs and obtain a quotation.

Complete Mailing Systems

The Rigid Flexible 95 Complete Mailing Systems meet the UN3373 P650 packaging instruction for road transport and offer a complete solution for sample containers which do not fit into any of the SpeciSafe range, or where the primary container is not 95kPa compliant.

They comprise a 95kPa pouch, with appropriately sized absorbent sheet, and an outer rigid box, already labelled with all appropriate UN3373 required information. They also include a tamper evident seal.

Available in 5 different sizes, with an option for an insulated pack, they are compatible with a vast range of sample containers.

All the components can also be purchased individually ensuring even greater flexibility in the choice of packaging materials for the laboratory and ensuring minimal postage costs are incurred.

Packaging kits are supplied flat packed to minimise storage space requirements and have full instructions for assembly.

Flexible Secondary 95kPa Pouches

The Flexible Secondary Pouches are the ideal solution for transporting sample containers where the pressure resistance is either unknown or not certified to be 95kPa compliant. They are also useful for any sample container which does not fit into any of the moulded SpeciSafe transport containers. Pouches can be used as the secondary packaging option when combined with a rigid outer box. The rigid outer can be an individual one, or a hospital courier transport box designed to hold several samples.
In this way the pouches can be used to meet the UN3373 regulations P650 packaging instruction for transport of category B biological samples by road.

Absorbent Sheets

These super absorbent sheets can be used with all types of packaging to help meet UN3373 regulations. Available in 4 sizes specified by the volume that they can absorb, simply choose the
one that will absorb at least the total volume of your sample.
For larger volumes multiple sheets can be added to ensure absorbence of all the sample in the event of catastrophic leakage.
A 4 bay absorbent pouch is also available, suitable for sending up to 4 blood type or similar tubes. This keeps the tubes separated from each other, without the need to wrap each one individually.

Rigid Outer Containers

These containers are the same boxes as used in the Complete Mailing System, available for purchase separately. Use these boxes when you need to tailor the packaging to exactly suit your needs. The Rigid Outer Containers are available in 5 useful sizes with one insulated option. All boxes are supplied flat packed to minimise storage requirements and have full instructions for assembly. They can be used together with SpeciSafe® as well as with 95kPa pouches for either road or air transport.

UN3373 Sample Carriers

The MedDXTAINER Medical Sample Carrier is a popular choice with medical couriers and hospital transport. Used for the collection of multiple samples from off-site clinics and laboratories, this ABS plastic carrier can be stacked and locked, enabling three or four units to be carried together.
The medical sample carrier is regulatory marked and should be used in conjunction with a secondary packaging. If primaries are not 95kPa we advise the use of the 95kPa pouches to ensure compliance.

A range of additional options are available including shoulder straps, trolley, security components and EPP insulated liners for refrigerated shipments. Please enquire for details.

  • ABS rigid plastic carrier ensures durability and reusability
  • Foam lid and base sample protection pads
  • Lockable stacking feature
  • Regulatory complaint markings
  • Carry handle

UN3373 Labels and Security Seals

Labels can be purchased to add to your own packaging solutions which comply with the UN3373 regulations. Save time and effort with labels directly from a roll. Also available is the tamper evident security seal. This has a special adhesive to ensure it cannot be removed without being torn so it becomes immediately obvious if the package has been previously opened.