If you occasionally package infectious substances (human or animal pathogens) for transport by commercial carrier, you must first receive training. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulate shipment of human and animal pathogens. The regulations are complex and exacting. They require that researchers who prepare infectious materials for shipment receive periodic training (every 2 or 3 years, depending on the regulation). In addition, packages must be marked and labeled exactly as the regulations specify, and packaging materials must have been tested and certified to withstand certain durability and pressure tests. Cardboard boxes in which supplies have been received cannot be used to ship infectious materials. Recent events have led to greater scrutiny for compliance with these regulations.
DES provides training and certification for shipping infectious substances and other biological materials with an emphasis on laboratories and research groups. Among the topics covered are: regulatory definitions of infectious substance, diagnostic specimen, and biologic product; use of the Hazardous Materials Table to find the proper shipping name and packaging instructions; requirements for shipping biological material with dry ice; correctly filling out the shipping documentation; and additional federal permits that may be required. Attendees who complete the quiz will receive a certificate showing compliance with the DOT training requirement. If you are involved with a variety or large number of shipments you should attend a comprehensive course to receive function-specific training. Contact DES for a list of sources for such training. If you will be sending human or animal pathogens via commercial carrier, please contact Hallie Heaney via email or at (301) 405-6513 to schedule a convenient time for a training session.Category A training documents