Biosafety and sharps

Biological agents are used or encountered in many applications including microbiological laboratories, gene technology, handling animals, when dealing with human procedures, when handling human biological specimens, working in the field or outdoors and in occupations such as plumbing, cleaning and gardening.

Hazards posed by these include the potential risk of contracting infectious diseases. When working with biological agents knowledge of appropriate safety protocols and procedures is essential.

Approvals to work with biological materials

All research and teaching involving biological hazards must have documented risk assessment and approval from an appropriate UOW authority. Some additional requirements are:

  • Non-GMO and Non-biosecurity Risk Group 1 organisms do not need to be reviewed by the IBC but need to follow standard laboratory practices for Physical Containment 1 (PC1) work and be approved by the Project Supervisor and Head of School.
  • The IBC must be notified of the importation or acquisition of all microbiological organisms of Risk Group 2 or higher; and the importation or acquisition of all GMOs.
  • All work with Risk Group 2 materials must be reviewed by the IBC and performed in a Physical Containment 2 (PC2) facility.
  • All work with Risk Group 3 organisms or above, need to have appropriate facilities and work practices developed prior to the organisms being brought onto UOW property and the work must be approved by the Dean / Director of Unit and the IBC.
  • You must also check whether your biological hazard is included in the list of agents that are considered a National Security Risk. If your biological agent is included, you must contact the WHS Unit or Research Office before any decision is made to bring the agent onto UOW property.