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Transporting Specimens To The Laboratory

Posted by Richard Hughes on Monday, January 31, 2022 Under: Medical Courier
Laboratory Specimen Courier North West. Under exceptional circumstances, where Biohazard Group 4 pathogens e.g. viral haemorrhagic fever, are known or suspected, staff may be required to visit wards in order to transport samples to the laboratory.

Prepared specimens are placed within a red-topped Bio Bottle, which is then placed inside a Specimen Transport Box.



Leaks and Spills

The risk of breakage or leakage of chemical or other material is extremely small if the samples are packaged correctly and placed in secure transport boxes. Samples should not be forwarded where a leakage is known to have taken place. It is the responsibility of the clinical staff dealing with the patient to deal with any leakage of this kind. 

Any leaks occurring during transportation should be contained within the secondary container, in which case proceed to the laboratory and inform staff when handing over the specimens.

Health and Safety guidelines state that leaking samples should be discarded. In this event the requesting source will always be contacted as soon as possible. If the specimen cannot be repeated, or is of particular importance, an attempt will be made to find a safe means to salvage and process the sample.

Spills within the hospital:

In the event of a spillage of any kind Portering staff should not attempt to clean it up. Spills may release formaldehyde which can be identified by its pungent odour, in this case ventilation is particularly important.



Ventilate the area
  • Put a wet floor sign at the spillage
  • Contact the laboratory staff
  • Inform Ward/Department of incident
  • Report it to their line manager/Supervisor or Site/Bed Manager
Pneumatic Tube System:

Where leakage has spread beyond the bag then the entire contents of the pod will be discarded as clinical waste, assuming that it contains no specimens that cannot be repeated.

Where leakage has occurred beyond the pod then management must be contacted and suitable decontamination of the tube system initiated. 

Spills may release formaldehyde which can be identified by its pungent odour,:

  • Ventilate the area
  • Contact Laboratory for advice
If there is no reason to suspect formaldehyde you should use the spill kit as directed, and proceed to the laboratory and inform staff when handing over the specimens.

In : Medical Courier 


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