The Chain of Custody (COC) is used to document information about the sample(s) such as identification/name, time/date of collection, parameter requests, and the legal transfer of sample custody. It’s a critical step in the sample testing process—one that environmental professionals know can impact results.

Properly completed COC forms and corresponding sample container labels avoid potential delays and incorrect or incomplete analysis. They also ensure regulatory compliance requirements are met.

REMINDER: Please DO NOT use gel pens to complete labels on sample containers.

When sample containers are placed in coolers with melting ice, gel pen ink often smudges and runs on labels—making them illegible to read. Please use black or blue ball point pens or Sharpie markers only!

Image of a smudged EAI container label

The following lists critical information we see most commonly missing on COCs:

Setting your projects up for success means taking the time to complete the COC form and sample container labels accurately! Accurate and complete COC forms and sample labels will minimize potential issues that could impact your projects.

  • Sample ID—should match sample ID, date, and time written on the sample container(s).
  • Date and Time of Collection—should match sample ID, date, and time written on the sample container(s).
  • Analyses
  • Project Manager/Company
  • Project Information
  • QAQC Reporting Level
  • Date Needed
  • Relinquishing signature, date, and time—this is the most missed section!

Questions? Get In Touch!

Instructions for completing the COC form may be found in our client resources center—particularly helpful for new employees and field techs! If you have any questions when completing your form, filling out sample container labels, or about our laboratory services, we’re happy to assist you. Please call 1-800-287-0525 or email us to get in touch.

Thank you!

— The Eastern Analytical, Inc. Team