Shipper’s Responsibilities for Preparation of Accompanying Documentation

  • Use the proper form/s
  • Fill out the form/s accurately, completely and legibly
  • Comply with carriers’ requirements for filling out the form/s (handwritten vs. typed)
  • Sign the form/s (signature must be handwritten)
  • Modifications and alterations must be signed by the shipper (best practice is to complete a new form if a correction is needed)
  • The form/s must be printed in color on white paper (e.g. for the Dangerous Goods Declaration Form the left and right diagonal striations must be printed in red)
  • The form must be completed in English
  • The shipper must complete three copies. One copy is for the shipper and the remaining two are for the operator

Categorization of Infectious Substances

There are four (4) Classes of Dangerous Goods which are relevant to a certified shipper of infectious substances:

  1. Class 2: Non-flammable, non-toxic gases
    - Division 2.2 Refrigerated liquid Nitrogen used for refrigeration
  2. Class 3: Flammable liquids (e.g. Ethanol used for preservation)
  3. Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Substances
    - Division 6.1 Toxic substances
      - Division 6.2. Infectious substances(Category A and Category B)
  4. Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods (e.g. dry ice)

There are two substance categories which fall under Division 6.2. Infectious Substances

  1. Category A, Infectious Substances: is an infectious substance which is transported in a form, that if an exposure occurs, it is capable of causing permanent disability, life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals.
  2. Category B: is an infectious substance which does not meet the criteria for inclusion in Category A

United Nations (UN) Numbers and Proper shipping names

Category A , Infectious Substances

UN 2814, Proper Shipping Name: Infectious Substance, Affecting Humans
assigned to infectious substances meeting the above criteria which cause disease in humans or both in humans and animals
UN 2900, Proper Shipping Name: Infectious Substance, Affecting Animals only
assigned to infectious substances which can cause disease in animals only

NOTE: Assignment to UN 2814 or UN 2900 shall be based on the known medical history and symptoms of the source human or animal, endemic local conditions, or professional judgement concerning individual circumstances of the source: human or animal.

Category B, Infectious Substances

UN 3373, Proper Shipping Name: Biological Substance

Packaging and Shipping Instructions

Shippers of infectious substances shall ensure that packages are prepared utilizing the Triple Packaging System. This packaging system is used for the transportation of all infectious substances in such a manner that they reach their destination in good condition and present no hazard to persons or animals during transport.

As the name suggests, there are three layers of containment to protect the substances being shipped –

  • Primary receptacle containing the specimen must be leak-proof and watertight. It is wrapped/packaged with sufficient absorbent material to absorb all fluid in case of breakage.
  • Secondary packaging is a second durable, watertight, leak-proof container/receptacle used to enclose and protect the primary receptacle(s). Several cushioned primary receptacles may all be placed in one secondary packaging ensuring sufficient additional absorbent material is used to absorb all fluid in case of breakage.
  • Outer packaging involves placing secondary packaging in outer shipping packaging with suitable cushioning material.