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Facilities Services

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Health Sciences Express Medical Commodities

Sending/Receiving Commodities

Contact your department at UWMC or HMC for access to commodity lockers. The following procedures apply to all commodities transported by the Health Sciences Express.

Address Requirements

Items carried must be clearly addressed with the following information:

  • Receiver Information
  • Facility, e.g. To UWMC
  • Name
  • Department
  • Building
  • Phone number
  • Sender’s Information
  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Date item sent

Packaging Requirements

Items must not exceed 30 lbs. in weight, or 21” x 15” x 9” in dimension (exceptions made for crash boxes ONLY). Items must be packaged securely. Materials packed in ice or coolants must be in containers that do not leak. Examples: Files must be boxed; specimens must be securely packaged in containers that do not leak such as a small ice chest with a secure lid. Oversized, overweight, and/or improperly addressed or packaged commodities may not be transported.

Special Packaging Requirements for Diagnostic Specimens:

In order to protect the health and safety of the drivers and passengers and the integrity of the specimen, the following packaging procedures apply to all diagnostic specimens (human and animal) to be transported:

  1. The primary container (e.g., test tube) must contain the diagnostic specimen. The primary container must be sealed, leakproof, and cannot be any larger than 500ml or 500g. Shipping syringes or open test tubes is not permitted.
  2. The primary container must be placed inside a sealed and leakproof secondary container labeled with a biohazard label (e.g., ziplock bag, nonbreakable plastic screw cap test tube, etc.).
  3. If multiple primary containers are used, they should be packed so that they do not come into contact with each other.
  4. Sufficient absorbent material to absorb the liquid contents of the primary container must be placed in the secondary container. If the primary container is glass, the absorbent must be arranged to cushion the primary container.
  5. The outer shipping container must be constructed of fiberboard, cardboard, or styrofoam. It cannot be a bag, envelope, or similar non-rigid container. Re-usable containers such as crash boxes or insulated containers can be used provided they have a secure closing mechanism. The outer packaging cannot exceed 4L or 4Kg. The complete package must be capable of passing a 4-foot drop test. The shipping container should bear a biohazard label and must be clearly and durably marked with the words “diagnostic specimen.”. The shipping container must have the address and phone number of both the shipper and consignee.
  6. If dry ice is used, the shipping container must allow for the release of the carbon dioxide generated and the container must be properly marked and labeled.
  7. If ice is placed between the secondary container and the shipping container, the shipping container must be leakproof, (i.e., use a sealed second plastic bag).
  8. When shipping a specimen in a hazardous fixative, the following guidelines apply:
    • Shipping papers must accompany the package. These shipping papers must be prepared by someone trained in packaging. The package must be marked “this package conforms to 49 CFR 173.4”.
    • Specimen containers must not have more than 1 oz. of a flammable fixative or formaldehyde.
    • Specimen containers must be constructed of glass, 0.2 mm plastic, metal, or earthenware. The lid must be held in place with tape.
    • Specimen containers must be surrounded by a cushioning and absorbent material capable of absorbing the entire contents of the package. The absorbent material must not react chemically with the material. Each container must allow for expansion of liquid, (i.e., leave an air gap of 1/2 inch). The container must be capable of passing a 6-foot drop test.

For more information on packaging of specimens, contact EH&S at 206-685-2849, chmwaste@uw.edu or visit www.ehs.washington.edu

OVERSIZED, OVERWEIGHT, IMPROPERLY ADDRESSED OR PACKAGED COMMODITIES WILL NOT BE TRANSPORTED

User Responsibilities

Items for transport should be placed at the commodity box location where they will be picked up by the driver. Do not leave items in an unattended bus. Receiving departments are solely responsible for checking the commodity delivery area for packages. The Health Sciences Express Service cannot accept responsibility for items carried.

Special Considerations

Items of special value and/or items requiring special handling (e.g. payroll), items being sent to non-commodity areas and items with time constraints must be carried by a messenger. The Health Sciences Express Commodity Service is not a mail delivery service. Please use Mailing Services to send mail.

Commodity Delivery Locations

Contact your department at UWMC or HMC for access to commodity lockers.

University of Washington Medical Center: First floor of the UWMC Muilenburg Tower, just inside the double doors on the east side of the lobby area.

Harborview: Research and Training Building, just inside and to the right of the entrance.