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The sample transport best practice your lab is ignoring

You already have standard operating procedures (SOPs) for transporting samples around the lab (if you don’t, what the heck!?).

Maybe you put tubes in a plastic rack. And if you have more than 1 rack you load them up on a utility cart. Move them to your workspace. Remove them from the utility cart. Return the cart. Etc…

It’s fairly safe, but it’s not as safe as anywhere else in the sample’s lifecycle. It’s much safer in the LN2 freezer or under the fume hood or even in the centrifuge as you spin it down.

It doesn’t take much to turn your short trip carrying samples from A to B into a catastrophe though.

  • You’re pushing the cart past a distracted colleague who quickly turns and knocks the tubes and other glassware to the ground.
  • You catch your lab coat on the corner of a desk and it pulls you just enough to fling the tube rack out of your hands and onto the floor.
  • A heavy door closes a little quickly, bumping your elbow and sending your samples flying.
  • Your coworker carelessly tosses a banana peel over their shoulder just as you’re walking by with an armful of liquids.

Even if you follow all your existing best practices, there’s a greater chance for disaster during transport than at any other time.

So what else can you do?

Make it easy for everyone in the lab to protect vulnerable samples

Putting samples into a sample transport box before moving them around the lab lowers the risk of samples falling to the ground and breaking because:

  • A sample transport box that’s stable with a wide base is harder to knock down than a tube rack or glassware.
  • A sample transport box that locks closed with a low profile keeps tubes safely cushioned by their tube racks.
  • A sample transport box contains the rare spills that do happen, so you can easily dispose of the mess and autoclave the transport box for its next use.

When you choose your sample transport box, look for something with a wide base, low profile, and watertight seals.

If you want to test out a few in your lab to see the impact it could have, find our preferred model at the link below. Start with 3-5 in your first order and place a second order to fill out your needs once you have the qualified safety data you need.

Test this new SOP in your lab

Build custom sample transport kits to keep liquids and lab workers safe

Chemicals, samples, other liquids, and glassware are transported around the lab by all sorts of different people. And for different reasons.

A new lab tech might be responsible for moving cryovials from your LN2 freezer to a workstation.

Experienced operators may be moving armfuls of dirty glassware after a long day of testing at the bench.

Older volunteers at the hospital might even be moving bottles of formalin from the main lab in the hospital to the histology lab.

Preassembled kits make everybody’s jobs easier. For example, a simple kit for transporting samples from cryostorage might include:

You could even print a simple checklist of the pieces that go into each transport kit so users can quickly grab the right pieces before going about their work.

How often should you disinfect your sample transport box?

Excessive caution is better than a shortage of it. There are a few general rules to follow to make sure your specimen transport box is as clean as you need.

  • Always work with sample transport boxes that can be autoclaved.
  • If the inside of the box is exposed to fumes or comes in contact with liquids, disinfect it.
  • If the box falls and tubes or glassware inside doesn’t break, still disinfect it.
  • If the box is only used to transport dirty glassware, disinfect at the end of each day.
  • If the box carries samples from the field to the lab, disinfect it.

Although the best practice is to create transport box kits for each application in the lab, the realities of life in the lab aren’t always so straightforward. Switching between applications for every use makes sample transport box disinfection an important part of the daily routine.

How to transport chilled blood samples with a sample transport box

Moving chilled blood samples from location to location in your lab is routine.

  • Fill the box with crushed ice or gel packs.
  • Pack the blood bag, or tubes with a quarter inch of space between them.
  • Walk confidently to the workstation.

Alternatively, you can place your tube racks in the transport box and pack ice around it, making the tubes even more secure.

Because your sample transport box can be washed or autoclaved repeatedly, it won’t be hopelessly contaminated by loose ice.

What else can you move around the lab with a sample transport box?

You automatically move things around the lab all the time without even realizing there might be a better way.

Look around and think about how your work day would play out if some of the things in your field of view suddenly crashed to the ground and broke, or became contaminated by the environment, or contaminated the environment.

Need a little help? Download the simple Where Does That Go coloring book below and see how other labs are using it. Then bring it home and give your kids a science-themed page to color in so they can start to see the kinds of things you work with every day.

Looking for a sample transport box recommendation?

The Duraporter from Heathrow Scientific is the preferred sample transport box for most labs because:

  • They’re easy to carry even when full
  • You rarely have to replace them because they’re so durable.
  • Identifying stored samples inside is simple when you use the built in color coding.
  • The guaranteed watertight seal keeps the outside out and the inside in better than any other sample transport box.

Order a few to test out in a handful of applications in your lab. When you have the data to confirm the positive impact it has on sample transport safety, expand your supply to cover more applications.

You can place your order right here today and we’ll ship it out right away.

Try the sample transport box that’s preferred by 20,000 labs across the US.