Transportation of Biological Materials

On this page:

Learn the guidelines and get training on shipping and receiving hazardous materials.

Biological or infectious materials are considered hazardous materials (otherwise known as dangerous goods) and therefore their transportation falls under multiple jurisdictions including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the UN Model Regulations.  These rules stipulate that personnel who are shipping and receiving hazardous materials must be trained every 24 months.

Transporting Dangerous Goods Training

Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), in conjunction with the Vice President for Research and Economic Development office, hold two in-person training sessions every other year. These training sessions are open to anyone in the UB community. If the training sessions we provide are missed, you may complete an online session given by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP).

Intra-Campus transportation

Transportation of biological materials from building to building on a single campus can be done by an individual by walking the sample or material from location to location. In these instances, the samples must be packaged in a leak-proof secondary container. The primary container should be sealed closed using parafilm or lab tape. If the sample is a liquid, an absorbent pad should be placed inside the secondary container.

  • Biological Samples are NOT allowed on public transportation, including Stampede buses and shuttles.
  • Individually owned automobiles may be used if, and only if, the samples are packaged according to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

Inter-Campus Transportation

  • Biological Samples are NOT allowed on public transportation, including Stampede buses, shuttles, NFTA buses and the Metro line. Under no circumstances are biological samples allowed on any of these modes of transportation.
  • Individually owned automobiles may be used if, and only if, the samples are packaged according to DOT regulations.

EH&S provides shipping assistance and transportation in state owned vehicles when laboratories are moving from one location to another. Typical packaging for EH&S assisted moves can be seen in the Transporting Specimens visual aid below:

Packing for Transporting Specimens

Transporting Biological Materials Poster.

Illustration of proper packing for transporting specimens 

Off-Campus Shipping

All shipments made to off-campus destinations must be made by trained personnel following the UN Model Regulations (published under IATA/ICAO).

Contact an Expert

headshot of david pawlowski.

David Pawlowski, Ph.D, RBP

Biosafety Officer

Environment, Health & Safety

Phone: 716-829-5816

Email: drp@buffalo.edu