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Courier Packing and Shipping Guide

Shipping Instructions

Preparing the Shipping Box

  1. Cover the specimens in the frozen Styro(s) with dry ice (see Diagram 1c: Frozen Shipping Container)
    • Wear safety glasses and cloth gloves when handling dry ice.
    • If no frozen specimens are being shipped, carefully transfer the dry ice from the frozen Styro to the dry ice container and ship that Styro empty.
    • The courier may wish to dispose of the extra dry ice after topping off the frozen Styro(s). The last client on the run may have a place to do this.
      Never leave dry ice where people might burn themselves on it. Do not dump it in a parking lot, a drinking fountain, or a restroom sink.
  2. Put the Specimen Control Document in the Refrigerate/Ambient Styro.
    • First, total the columns on each Specimen Control Document. Remove and keep the yellow copy for your records. This will be very important if there should be any questions about the shipment.
    • Put the Specimen Control Document inside of the Refrigerate Styro before closing the box.
  3. Close the shipping box and seal it with packaging tape.
    • Do not fold the handles down and tape the box until finished with all pickups.
    • Do not seal all the edges of the box. Dry ice emits a gas, which must be allowed to escape. Do not tape the Styro lids.
  4. On the outside of the box, write the weight (in kilograms) of dry ice being shipped.
    • Usually shipments include some frozen specimens. The Mayo Medical Laboratories’ shipping box has the words "Dry Ice" next to the Class 9 hazard label and includes a place to write in the weight of the dry ice (in kilograms) on the box.
      If the shipment does not include dry ice, the dry ice label must be completely covered up either with tape, paper, or a marker.
    • If a shipment containing dry ice is being transported on a passenger airline, write "2.2 kg" on the appropriate line on the label. Make sure that there is no more than 2.2 kilograms (5 lb) in the frozen Styro inside the box.

This is a Mayo Medical Laboratories box properly labeled for a "Biological Substance, Category B" shipment.

A box properly labeled for a Category B Biological Specimen

Always ship both Styros in the Mayo Medical Laboratories box set, even if one Styro is empty. Never take one or both Styros out and put specimens directly in the box. Wear latex gloves any time you reach into a Styro that contains specimens.

Shipping by Air

Filling out the airbill

Mayo Medical Laboratories will provide couriers with preprinted "airbills" for shipments or Category B substances.

Mayo Medical Laboratories’ policy is that Category A Infectious Substances must be shipped by FedEx. That procedure will be covered in the section on Category A Infectious Substances. "Biological Substance, Category B" specimens may generally be shipped by most major passenger airlines as well as by FedEx.

Dropping off and reporting your shipment

The end of the courier’s route is the airline's drop-off location. Take the shipping boxes inside and hand them over to the airline's receiving person.

After delivering the shipment to the airline, phone Mayo Medical Laboratories to report the shipment. If no phone is handy at the airline's office, couriers can do this later from another phone. Mayo Medical Laboratories’ "AUDIX call-in system" makes it very easy to report the shipment. These instructions have been printed on a handy wallet card as well.

  1. Call 877-508-9797.
  2. After the recording, clearly and slowly state your name, company, city, state, flight number, airbill number, name of the airline, and the number of boxes sent on each airbill.
  3. Hang up.

It is important to make this call within a few hours. Mayo Medical Laboratories will need this information urgently if the shipment doesn't arrive on time.

Packaging Category A Infectious Substances

The following information describes Mayo Medical Laboratories' methods of packaging and shipping Category A Infectious Substances. We also provide detailed Dangerous Goods Training.

The packaging certified to transport infectious specimens legally and safely is a combination package consisting of inner and outer containers that have passed all tests required by IATA/DOT. Mayo Medical Laboratories provides a certified shipping container (T570).

This combination package is certified to transport Category A Infectious Substances only if it is used properly. The box and the inner container by themselves are not considered certified.

Certified Category A packaging

Certified packaging for Category A specimens: Infectious Shipper and Infectious Container.
Write the courier's name and address in the space provided on the shipper (box).

Client Preparation

It is not up to the courier driver to decide what is "Category A Infectious Substance" or "Biological Substance, Category B." The physician or send-out staff at the hospital lab will perform that function. Couriers will know that they are handling and transporting an infectious specimen if the client has a UN-certified box for them to ship.

The client places the specimen in a primary receptacle (such as a tube or a vial) and puts the primary receptacle into a certified container. The container is placed in one of Mayo Medical Laboratories’ color-coded bags. The client will place the bagged container in the white certified box.

Packing Category A Infectious Substances

Do not package infectious Category A Infectious Substance specimens with Biological Substance, Category B specimens. Category A Infectious Substance specimens must be shipped in certified packaging. Because many passenger airlines have restrictions or exclusions on shipping Dangerous Goods, Mayo Medical Laboratories recommends that any infectious shipments sent to our laboratories be made via FedEx.

If the courier uses a passenger airliner to ship the Category B shipments, the infectious specimens must be shipped to Mayo Medical Laboratories via FedEx.

Follow this procedure:

  • When making a pickup at a hospital, place the certified containers with infectious specimens inside a certified T570 box.
  • Remember that shipping the infectious box via air will involve filling out a Shipper’s Declaration as well as a paper FedEx airbill.
  • The Category B Biological Substance specimens may be shipped as usual via the courier’s "scheduled" carrier in another box.

Labeling Category A Infectious Substance Shipments

The courier must write the courier’s name and address on the space provided on the box.

Documenting Category A Infectious Substances

Fill out the required sections of Shipper's Declaration, including:

  1. The airbill number
  2. The airport of departure
  3. The printed name and title of the person making the shipment, the city, state and date, the signature of the person making the shipment

Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods

Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods


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