Specimen Collection and Transport


All specimens (blood, body fluids, cultures, cytology and surgical) must have a first and last name on the specimen container, accompanied by a secondary identifier. Examples of acceptable identifiers include but are not limited to: date of birth, medical record number, social security number, requisition number, accession number, or unique random number. A location (e.g., hospital room number) is not an acceptable identifier. The name or identifiers on the specimen(s) must match exactly the name or identifiers on the requisition. Test results may be delayed if labeling discrepancies occur. All specimens must be accompanied with a completed requisition and transported at the required temperature in bio-hazard zip-lock bags or other appropriate transport containers.


Use Universal, Standard Precautions as required by the OSHA Blood Borne Pathogen Standard

  • Package specimens in a leak-proof container known as the primary container, such as the test tube or urine cup.
  • The primary container should be enclosed in a secondary, leak-proof container such as a specimen bag.
  • Absorbent material sufficient to absorb the entire contents of the inner packaging must be included in the secondary container.
  • Place the requisition form in the bag facing outward.
  • Determine the infectious nature of the specimens to be transported. Also determine if other materials are present that the Department of Transportation may consider hazardous, such as formaldehyde or dry ice.
  • Store at the temperature indicated for that specimen according to the test specifications.


(For safety reasons, Northwest Laboratory is prohibited by law to transport)

  • Leaking specimens
  • Syringes with needles attached or sharps in any form
  • Specimens not placed in secondary container (NWL provided bio- bags)
  • Waste of any kind