Safety Services


Transport in the lab, between buildings and off-site

In order to correctly classify the substance you wish to transport, please contact the UCL Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (dangerousgoods@ucl.ac.uk).

Transfer of infectious material in a laboratory

In order to minimise the potential for spillage, good practice may include:

  • using screw-capped tubes in preference to snap-cap lids
  • using deep-sided and leak-proof trays or boxes to transport higher-risk materials
    • where appropriate, these should be securely lidded to minimise the risk of spill or leakage
    • they should be constructed of smooth impervious material, e.g. plastic or metal, which can be effectively cleaned and disinfected
  • using trolleys for the transport of large or unwieldy containers, with some form of guard rail or raised sides where possible and with care take to load samples so they cannot fall off
  • having spill kits readily available in the event of a spillage during transport, with appropriate people trained in their use and drills carried out
  • planning a route that minimises transit through communal areas and public spaces
  • labelling transport containers to identify their contents
  • decontaminating the surface of the container before leaving the containment area

Transport between buildings on the same site

The transport of hazardous substances must be risk assessed and the procedure communicated. The following must be considered so as to reduce the risks to the public and staff, of loss of the substance or of reputational damage.

  • do not take any form of taxi or public transport
  • do not use motorised vehicles (they fall under regulation), or bicycles
  • ensure that all those in the transport chain are aware of the hazards
  • when walking the sample, the UCL standard is to follow the relevant regulatory packaging instructions and labelling for the dangerous good (e.g. triple packaging, use of absorbent material)
  • the labelling will include details of the origin and destination (department and building)
  • conceal the correctly labelled and packaged container in a secure carrier to prevent theft, such as a rucksack
  • define the route to avoid busy public places or high traffic areas
  • arrange the times for transport so that it will be expected at the destination and an alarm can be raised
  • transport the package with a colleague for security, or to assist in the event of an accident or emergency
  • carry an appropriate spill kit for emergencies

Contact dangerousgoods@ucl.ac.uk for advice.

Last updated: Friday, July 22, 2022

See also

Transporting Infectious and Biological Material - when transporting by road, train or plane