Requirements for the Packaging and Transport of Pathology Specimens and Associated Materials 3rd Edition

Appendix A - The triple packaging system (Normative)

Page last updated: 22 October 2012


Packaging for all substances should consist of three components (triple packed; see Figure A4.2 in Appendix 4) and must be packaged as follows:
  1. The primary receptacle(s) must be leakproof
  2. The primary receptacle(s) must be placed into leakproof secondary packaging with absorbent material sufficient to absorb the entire contents. Multiple fragile primary receptacles must be packed with suitable cushioning material in such a way that any release of liquid substance will not compromise the integrity of the cushioning material
  3. The secondary packaging must be placed into outer packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use and with a secure closure to prevent loss of contents.

Note: A common practice in many pathology laboratories is to place each individual patient’s samples into separate sealable individual plastic bags (one patient per plastic bag). It is important to note that where these separate plastic bags are placed directly inside an outer insulated packaging container, this does not meet the requirements of triple packaging, as there is no absorbent material between the primary receptacle and the outer packaging. To meet the requirements of secondary packaging, the individual patient plastic bags would need to be placed inside a larger bag or container with an appropriate amount of absorbent material.


Documentation, such as identifying paperwork, must be packed separately from the primary receptacle(s).