safe transport of infectious substances and diagnostic specimens by air


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  • REGULATIONS as of 1 JULY 2004

    If either you or your staff packs or supervises an individual who packs dangerous goods for transport by air (including enclosing the goods in packaging, or marking or labelling the consignment or preparing a shippers declaration) then you are required by the Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 92 (CASR 92) to ensure that both you and your staff receive dangerous goods training on a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved course from 1st July 2004 and every two years thereafter.


    United Nations Committee of Experts (CoE)International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)International Air Transport Association(IATA)Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)Australia

  • GENERAL PHILOSOPHYUnlike transport by road and sea, air transportationhas a unique set of circumstances:Pressurized cabinEnclosed environmentOperating at altitude

  • WHY AWARENESS TRAINING? In the interest of global public health infectious substances and diagnostic specimens need to be transported by air safely and efficiently.

    More than 90% of all aviation accidents and incidents worldwide involving dangerous goods were caused by UNDECLARED dangerous goods.

    Less than 1% of dangerous goods incidents worldwide were caused by correctly packaged, declared and documented dangerous goods.

  • THE CASE FOR AWARENESS TRAINING A heavy duty plastic cylinder exploded as it was being transported by a courier.

    Dry ice was packed into a cylinder (secondary packaging) contrary to both the IATA Regulations and the manufacturers instructions.

    Just imagine if this had happened onboard an aircraft in flight!

  • KEY DEFINITIONS Dangerous GoodsSubstances capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property or the environment when transported by airCarbon Dioxide, Solid (Dry Ice) Diagnostic SpecimensBiological products


  • NINE (9) UN HAZARD CLASSESWith dangerous goods, the shipper must classify each item by determining which of the nine (9) Hazard Classes it falls within.Class 1 ExplosivesClass 2 GasesClass 3 Flammable LiquidsClass 4 Flammable Solids; Substances Liable to Spontaneous Combustion; Substances Which in Contact With Water, Emit Flammable GasesClass 5 Oxidising Substances and Organic PeroxideClass 6 Toxic and Infectious SubstancesClass 7 Radioactive MaterialClass 8 CorrosivesClass 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous GoodsSTEP 1Classify

  • UN HAZARD CLASSES These may be further divided into Hazard DivisionsThe order in which they appear does not imply relative degree of danger.STEP 1Classify

  • CLASS 6.2 - INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES Division 6.2 materials are substances which are known to contain or reasonably expected to contain pathogens.

    Pathogens are micro-organisms (such as bacteria, viruses, rickettsia parasites and fungi) and recombinant micro- organisms (hybrid or mutant) that may cause infectious diseases in humans or animals.

    Division 6.2 includes biological products; diagnostic specimens such as blood, body fluids and tissue samples; clinical and medical waste; and genetically modified micro- organisms and organisms.

    STEP 1Classify

  • RISK GROUPS Classification into the appropriate Risk Group is based upon:

    The pathogenicity of the organism.The mode and relative ease of transmission.The degree of risk to both an individual and a community.Reversibility of the disease through the availability of known and effective preventative agents and treatment.Risk groups 1,2,3,4

    STEP 1Classify

  • GENETICALLY MODIFIED MICRO-ORGANISMS AND ORGANISMS Genetically modified micro-organisms which meet the definition of an infectious substance must be classified in Division 6.2 and assigned UN 2814 or UN 2900.

    Animals which contain, or are contaminated with, genetically modified micro-organisms that meet the definition of an infectious substance must not be transported by air unless exempted by the State concerned.

    Genetically modified micro-organisms which do not meet the definition of an infectious substance, but are capable of altering animals, plants or microbiological substances in a way which is not normally the result of natural reproduction must be classified in Class 9 and assigned to UN 3245.

    STEP 1Classify

  • DIAGNOSTIC SPECIMENS Diagnostic specimens, including those taken from apparently healthy individuals, may contain pathogens that meet the criteria for Risk Groups 1, 2, 3 or 4. Diagnostic Specimens that contain pathogens which meet the criteria for Risk Group 1, 2 and 3 must be assigned to UN 3373.

    Specimens containing Risk Group 4 pathogens are not permitted for transport as diagnostic specimens and must be assigned to UN 2814 or UN 2900 and transported according to the requirements for infectious substances. Shippers must exercise their professional judgment when assessing the possible presence of pathogens from Risk Group 4.

    Blood which has been collected for the purpose of blood transfusion or for the preparation of blood products, and blood products or any tissues or organs intended for use in transplants are not subject to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.STEP 1Classify

  • BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS Biological products are divided into three categories:

    Biological products containing pathogens in Risk Group 1 are not considered to be infectious substances and are not subject to the provisions of the IATA DGRs.

    Biological products manufactured and packaged in accordance with the requirements of national governmental health authorities and transported for the purposes of final packaging or distribution, and for use for personal health care by medical professional or individuals are not subject to the requirements for Division 6.2 substances.

    (3)Biological products known or reasonably known to contain pathogens in Risk Groups 2. 3 or 4 and which do not meet the criteria of (2) above must be classified in Division 6.2 under UN 2814 or UN 2900 as appropriate.

    STEP 1Classify


    Assign, where relevant, each item to one of three Packing Groups (I, II or III)

    Identify the Proper Shipping Name, UN Identification Number, cargo and passenger aircraft limitations and any special provisions.

    Comply with IATA Regulations

    Step 2Identify

  • GENERAL PACKING REQUIREMENTSUse only packaging permitted by applicable Packaging InstructionsFollow manufacturers instructionsUse only certified package configurationsRestrict the overpack quantity to design specificationsRestrict quantity per package to the specified limits

    Packaging must be: Good qualityStrong enough Constructed to prevent loss of contentClosed so as to prevent loss of contentStep 3 Select Packaging

  • MARKING AND LABELLING Infectious SubstancesStep 5Mark & Label

  • MARKING AND LABELLING Diagnostic SpecimensStep 5Mark & Label

  • MARKING AND LABELLINGOverpackStep 5Mark & Label

  • DOCUMENTATIONStep 6Documentation

  • Step 6Documentation

  • GENERAL REQUIREMENTS Two colour formatsLegible (computerised or handwritten)Two copies required by all OperatorsFull signature required when any type of amendment made except:Air waybill or con-note numberAirport of DepartureAirport of DestinationStep 6Documentation

  • TRANSPORT PLANNINGAdvance Arrangements need to be made between The SenderThe CarrierThe ReceiverPartner relationship required between the three partiesAll have specific responsibilities to carry outStep 7Advance Arrangements

  • EMERGENCY RESPONSEEmergency Response information must accompany all shipments of dangerous goods and must be available at all facilities involved in the transport process.

    Risk ReductionRisk Management

    Step 8 Emergency Response

  • CONCLUSIONThe Civil Aviation Academy Australasias Safe Transport of Infectious Substances and Diagnostic Specimens Course is CASA approved. One-day tutorial course ($140 per person) Via correspondence ($99 per person + $6 postage and handling). For further information or ph. 1800 754 774.

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTMany thanks to Sue-anne Roberts and Robyn McMenamin from the Civil Aviation Academy Australasia Pty Ltd for their assistance in putting this presentation together.


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