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

Appendix B - Transporting Infectious Substances, Category A, by air (UN 2814 — affecting humans, or UN 2900 — affecting animals) (Normative)

Page last updated: 22 October 2012

Samples of these substances for air transport must be packed by an employee trained to package this category of dangerous goods. Training is obtained by successfully completing an accredited course.

Substances that have been classified as Infectious Substances, Category A (see Appendix A), must be packed to IATA Packing Instruction 602.

NOTE: Infectious Substances, Category A, are prohibited for transport by Australia Post.


All specimens must be triple packed (see Figure A4.2) in packaging approved to transport Infectious Substances, Category A (i.e. outer packaging must display the UN packaging specification marking).

The packaging must consist of three components:
1. watertight primary receptacle/s

2. a watertight secondary packaging

For liquid substances, sufficient absorbent material to absorb the entire contents must be placed between the primary receptacle and the secondary packaging. (If multiple fragile primary receptacles are placed in a single secondary packaging, they must be either individually wrapped or separated to prevent contact between them)

3. a rigid outer packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, weight and intended use.

The smallest dimension of the package must not be less than 100 mm (4 in).

The maximum net quantity per package of Infectious Substances, Category A, is shown in Table 3.2.

Examples of suitable containers and packaging for Infectious Substances, Category A, can be seen in Table A5.1.

Table A5.1 Examples of containers and packaging for Infectious Substances, Category A

Absorbent materialVernagel (not for formalin), cotton wool
Combine dressing (for formalin)
Cushioning materialCotton wool, shredded newspaper
Outer packagingFibreboard box that displays the United Nations packaging specification marking
Primary receptacleBlood tube
Urine container
Histology specimen container
Secondary packagingPolycarbonate bottle supplied with purchased packaging for Infectious Substances, Category A
Biohazard bag, 95 kPa tested

Note: when transporting Infectious Substances, Category A, the primary receptacle or the secondary packaging must be capable of withstanding, without leakage, an internal pressure producing a pressure differential of not less than 95 kPa (0.95 bar, 13.8 lb/in2) and temperatures in the range of –40oC to +55oC (–40oF to 130oF).

Marking and labelling

The outer packaging must be marked with:
  • name and address of sender
  • name and address of receiver
  • name and 24-hour telephone number of emergency contact
  • UN number (e.g. UN 2814)
  • proper shipping name (e.g. Infectious substances, affecting humans)
  • total volume or weight of the Infectious Substance, Category A
  • infectious substance hazard label (Class 6) (see Figures 3.1 and A5.1).

For packages containing 50 mL or more of liquid substances, two orientation labels must be used — one label must be affixed to each of two opposite sides of the package with the arrows pointing in the upright position (see figure A5.1).


A shipper’s declaration must be completed (see Figure A5.2) as well as a consignment note or airway bill.

The proper shipping name must be supplemented with the technical name (e.g. virus, bacterium) on the shipper’s declaration. Technical names do not need to be shown on the package.