Faculty of Science
Workplace Health and Safety - Biosafety
All laboratory teaching and research in the University involving potentially infectious and or hazardous agents and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) must be referred to the Macquarie University Biosafety Committee (IBC) for approval. If you are undertaking or likely to undertake any work using living plant or animal agents please refer to the Research Ethics Officer Nicola Myton on x7854 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for application procedures. You are required to conduct a risk analysis where there are biosafety implications. Detailed background and explaination of risk analysis in the biosafety context can be found in the OGTR Risk Analysis Framework. Additional Workcover advice and information can be found on the Workcover website . Following the completion of risk analysis the safe operating procedure is developed to ensure the application of the risk mitigation steps . The University has a Biosafety Officer, Ms Elsa Mardones. Elsa is available to provide guidance and training on setting up appropriate levels of containment for biological risks once approval for work is given. She can be contacted on x8233 or by email email@example.com.
The University Research Office runs a Biosafety Workshop which outlines the legislative framework for research using biological agents, the application process for such research and the laboratory protocols required for working with potentially infectious and or hazardous agents. The induction includes a DVD about how to set up and use a compliant laboratory and a visit to a Physical Containment Level 2 laboratory in Biology - licensed with the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) which is responsible for compliance with the Gene Technology Act and Regulations. For further details contact the Research Ethics Officer Nicola Myton on x7854 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gene Technology Legislation
The Gene Technology Act 2000 and Gene Technology Regulations 2001 came into effect on the 21 June 2001. This legislation governs all work involving Gene Technology in Australia. The objective of the Act is to protect the health and safety of people and the environment by identifying risks posed by, or as a result of, gene technology and by managing those risks through regulating dealings and activities with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This legislation is governed by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) which has power to enforce requirements where work involving gene technology is being undertaken. For details of the Act please refer to the OGTR website Gene Technology Regulator Website .
In summary, the legislation regulates all "dealings" (or activities) with GMOs. Any University staff or student wishing to undertake a project involving GMOs must apply to the Macquarie University Biosafety Committee (IBC) for approval. Contact Nicola Myton, Research Ethics Officer, for details on x 7854 or email email@example.com
The basic approach to working with microorganisms is to regard them all as potential pathogens and to handle them with standard microbiological techniques to minimise the risk to laboratory staff and the environment. AS 2243.3:2002 Safety in Laboratories Part 3: Microbiological aspects and containment facilities specifies risk groups for microorganisms based on the pathogenicity of the agent, the mode of transmission and host range of the agent, the availability of effective preventive measures, and the availability of effective treatment. It also specifies the containment requirements for facilities depending on the type of microorganisms being handled. The Risk groupings include lists of bacteria, fungi, viruses and prions.
Risk Group 1 (low individual and community risk) - a microorganism that is unlikely to cause human, plant or animal disease.
Risk Group 2 (moderate individual risk, limited community risk) - a pathogen that can cause human, plant or animal disease, but is unlikely to be a serious hazard to laboratory workers, the community, livestock or the environment; laboratory exposures may cause infection, but effective treatment and preventive measures are available, and the risk of spread is limited.
Risk Group 3 (high individual risk, limited community risk) - a pathogen that usually causes serious human or animal disease and may present a serious hazard to laboratory workers. It could present a risk if spread in the community or the environment, but there are usually effective preventive measures or treatment available
Risk Group 4 (high individual and community risk) - a pathogen that usually produces life-threatening human or animal disease, represents a serious hazard to laboratory workers and is readily transmissible from one individual to another. Effective treatment and preventive measures are not usually available.
Physical Containment Level 1 (PC1) - a Physical Containment Level 1 laboratory is suitable for work with microorganisms where the hazard levels are low, and where laboratory personnel can be adequately protected by standard laboratory practice. The organisms used are not known to cause disease in healthy adults (i.e. organisms in Risk Group 1). Work may be carried out on the open bench. Specimens that have been inactivated or fixed may be handled in a level PC1 laboratory.
Physical Containment Level 2 (PC2) - a Physical Containment Level 2 laboratory is suitable for work with material likely to contain microorganisms which may be present in the community, where the microorganism may be associated with animal, plant or human disease of moderate severity (i.e. organisms in Risk Group 2). With good microbiological techniques, work with these agents may be carried out on the open bench. If there is a significant risk from the production of aerosols, a biological safety cabinet must be used.
Physical Containment Level 3 (PC3) - a Physical Containment Level 3 laboratory is suitable for work with indigenous or exotic microorganisms, and where there is a risk of serious infection to humans, animals or plants (i.e. organisms in Risk Group 3). A Physical Containment Level 3 laboratory provides safeguards to minimise the risk of infection to individuals, the community and the environment.
Physical Containment Level 4 (PC4) - a Physical Containment Level 4 laboratory is suitable for work with dangerous microorganisms that pose a high individual risk of life-threatening disease and may be readily spread to the community (i.e. organisms in Risk Group 4). A Physical Containment Level 4 laboratory is a facility situated in a building separate from other laboratories or constructed as an isolated area within a building.
Disposal of biohazardous waste
Biohazardous waste requires special measures to be taken for its disposal. Generators of biohazardous waste are responsible for ensuring all such waste is treated in the way set out below.
The E5A compound houses special biological waste bins which must be used for all biological waste generated in FSE central campus labs.
Biological sharps must be placed in a sharps container. Sharps containers ready for disposal must be correctly sealed and placed in a yellow contaminated waste bag before being disposed of in the dedicated sharps bin located in the E5A compound. This bin is for sharps containers only and is the only sharps container disposal bin available in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
Waste for autoclaving must be placed in a plain, opaque autoclavable bag. The bag should not be marked with a Biological hazard symbol.
Did you find what you were looking for? For further information, clarification or to make suggestions about this site please contact Elsa Mardones xtn 8233 or Michael Carley Ext 9275