Details regarding biosafety-related activities, approval requirements, and all related matters, are contained within the Biosafety Manual. The information provided on these Biosafety webpages is a summary only, and the Manual must be consulted for complete details.
Relevant Legislation and Standards
Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs)
The IBC is subject to the following legislation, regulations and amendments governing the practices and procedures involving GMOs:
- The Gene Technology Act 2000 (current compilation)
- The Gene Technology Regulations 2001 (current compilation)
- The Gene Technology (Consequential Amendments) Act 2000
- The Gene Technology (Licence Charges) Act 2000
- Gene Technology Act 2001 - South Australia
- Gene Technology Regulations 2002 - South Australia
- The Criminal Code Act 1995
The following legislation and regulations are also relevant to work with biohazardous materials, including GMOs:
In Australia, safety and containment aspects of work with microorganisms are governed by Australian & New Zealand Standard 2243.3:2010 ‘Safety in Laboratories - Part 3: Microbiological Safety and Containment. The Standard may be accessed via the SAI Global website, Standards Online, (access is available on campus).
Standard Precautions for Handling Human Tissues and Bodily Fluids and Potentially Infectious Environmental Samples
If you are working with clinical or environmental samples, remember that any specimen has the potential to be infectious, and precautions should be taken when handling these samples.
In the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2010), the NHMRC adopts the term ‘standard precautions’ as the basic risk minimisation strategy for handling human “blood (including dried blood); all other body substances, secretions and excretions (excluding sweat), regardless of whether they contain visible blood; non-intact skin; and mucous membranes”. These precautions should also be followed when working with potentially infectious environmental samples, such as untreated water, sewerage samples, animal faecal matter, soil, etc.
‘Standard precautions’ are the work practices required for basic infection control and include:
- Good microbiological practices (aseptic technique);
- Good hygiene practices (hand washing and drying, both before and after contact);
- Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (gloves, gowns, face masks, safety glasses);
- Waterproof coverings over any break in skin integrity (cuts, abrasions, etc.);
- Routine decontamination of surfaces at completion of work (benches and equipment used in direct contact with sample);
- Appropriate procedures for the handling and disposal of waste;
- Appropriate procedures for the handling and disposal of sharps;
- Following behavioural practices applied in physical containment level 2 facilities;
- Performing all work in a biosafety cabinet with any human-derived samples or cell lines known or reasonably expected to be infected with a pathogenic microorganism;
- Avoiding/minimising the creation of aerosols and performing work in a biosafety cabinet whenever there is a likelihood that aerosols may be produced (regardless of infectious status of the sample);
- Do not use a laminar flow for any work involving potentially infectious samples; and
- Receiving vaccination(s) where necessary - for example, when working with human body fluids, tissue samples, etc., immunization against Hepatitis B is recommended if antibody titre is low.
A risk assessment must always be performed before beginning any work with these types of samples.