Specimens That May be Transported

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medical Courier Safety. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Specimens That May be Transported

On the job, safety is very important - not only your personal safety but for the safety of the public as well. As an employee you are covered under the OSHA Chemical Hygiene and Bloodborne Pathogen Standards. You are entitled to be informed about any chemical or biological hazards and the possibility of exposure in your job. Biohazards in the courier workplace include specimens such as blood, body fluid and tissues. They may contain micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites that are the cause of infectious diseases. Exposure to these agents may be hazardous to health and safety. As a new employee, you will be informed about these agents and shown how to protect yourself. In addition to protecting you at work, we also want to protect other patients and staff, as well as your loved ones at home. Practicing good infection prevention is an important part of your job. You may come in close contact with some dangerous specimens. Following the safety protocols established by your organization and the Department of Transportation (DOT) will help make sure that samples remain securely contained.
Common specimens types transported by couriers may include:
Whole blood, serum, and plasma which is transported via plastic (and sometimes glass) tubes, depending on the test requested. Most laboratories have replaced glass collection tubes with plastic tubes. The exception to this is the yellow top ACD tube. The tube is a 10 milliliter (mL) tube and it contains a large amount of liquid anticoagulant (used to prevent the blood from clotting), called ACD.