Heightened Control Measures When Handling

Human Bodily Fluids or Tissues or Other Samples Potentially Containing SARS-CoV-2

Whole blood, serum, sewage, stools, sputum, lung aspirates, urine etc.

Researchers working with primary human tissue and bodily fluids are at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses have been detected in human blood, urine, stools (including wastewater) and sputum of asymptomatic people. This is a timely reminder to treat primary human tissue and bodily fluids as infectious, even if it was derived from “healthy” people.

SARS-CoV-2 is a Risk Group 3 respiratory infectious microorganism. RG3 micoorganisms are normally contained and managed in Physical Containment Level 3 facilities. However, unless culturing SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organisation and UniSA Institutional Biosafety Committee have approved the continued use of PC2 facilities when working with human bodily fluids and tissues, on the condition that Heightened Control Measures are implemented.

"Heightened Control Measures are required when handling primary human material."

Degowning is one of the highest risk processes. Proper procedures for degowning of Personal Protective Equipment are essential in preventing occupational exposure to pathogens. 

To successfully protect our health, our environment, our economy and our research, we must continue to engage in biosafety practices at the highest level.

Reuse and Decontamination of Personal Protective Equipment

PPE is in short supply and many researchers are considering the best reuse and decontamination practices.

How to Don, Doff, Store and Re-use a N95 Mask

Plastic Container Method of Storing N95 Mask

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has tested the effectiveness of PPE after reuse and decontamination. To ensure compliance with both health and safety and legal requirements we recommend the TGA's guidelines should be followed.

The TGA has also published a statement about decontamination of N95 masks.

Spills and Incidents

Phone numbers and contacts

Spills procedures

Incident reporting

Reporting an unintentional release of a GMO

What to do if you suspect the use of a Sensitive Sensitive Biological Agents

Project Approval Checklist

A project may require a number of approvals; Biosafety, Human Ethics, Animal Ethics, Chemical Safety, Radiation Safety and Defence Export Controls.

To check what approvals your project requires see the Project Approvals Checklist  

To determine the risk rating of a wild-type microorganism or cell line, refer to the ABSA Risk Group Database or the Material Safety Data Sheet provided by the manufacturer.

IBC Application Requirements

* Definition of SDN1

Unmodified Infectious Microorganisms

IBC approval is required before project commencement when using:

  • Risk Group 2 wild-type microorganisms and toxins,
  • non-laboratory animals,
  • wastewater or contaminated soil,
  • unaged compost
  • pest plants,
  • human blood and other primary human fluids and tissues.

This includes amongst other things: ova, embryos, sperm and seeds.

To determine the risk rating, refer to the ABSA Risk Group Database or the Material Safety Data Sheet provided by the manufacturer.

The Canadian Pathogen Database is a useful database listing the pathogenicity of micoorganisms.

Biological Hazard Application Form


Genetically Modified Organisms

Use of genetically modified organisms requires IBC approval before project commencement. Details and application forms can be found on the Gene Technology webpage.

Biosafety Officer Approval For New Accounts With ATCC

For Biosafety Officer approval to establish an account with ATCC, email with the:

  • ATCC application form and
  • Material Safety Data Sheet for the ATCC cell line you wish to purchase.

Before signing, the Biosafety Officer will check that appropriate facilities and risk management stategies are in place.

Biosafety Training

When working with biologicals, it is important for your safety and the safety of the others that you are well trained in biosafety. 

In addtion to laboratory induction, the IBC highly recommends that all staff and students:

  • Complete the online Biosafety 1 training module
  • Attend the Biosafety Information Day, once every three years
  • Receive personalised hands on training

If working with GMOs, it is a legal requirement that personnel involved in a particular project, read and understand the GMO application.


Current PC2 Facilities and Signatories 

After the Executive Officer has conducted an initial review of the application, applicants will need the signatures of Facility Managers and Heads of Academic Units, to approve the use of facilities.

List of Facilities and Signatories

Import, Export and Transfer of Biologicals

Whether biological goods are transferred internationally, interstate or just next door there are a number of items to organise. For details see the Quarantine and Transfer of Goods webpages.

Regulations and Standards

Biosafety Manual

University’s biosafety management system and regulatory requirements for working with infectious microorganisms and genetically modified organisms.

Australian and New Zealand Standards for Safety In Laboratories: Microbiological Safety and Containment

Electronic copies can be accessed through the UniSA Library.

Recommended way to find the Standards:

  • Go to the UniSA Library webpage and find the A-Z Databases list, Library Database T
  • Select Techstreet: Standards Australia.
  • Under 'View Online" select “Sign in”  
  • Sign in with your UniSA staff or student Username and Password
  • Select Techstreet Enterprise
  • Login to the standards with your UniSA staff or student login
  • Search for AS/NZS 2243.3

Gene Technology Regulator Guidelines for Storage, Transport and Disposal of Genetically Modified Organisms

Security Sensitive Biological Agents

Important Note: There are no facilities within South Australia currently available to undertake research using SSBAs.

For Biological Hazards applications involving the use of Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBA), please check the SSBA website (Department of Health), and SSBA newsletters (published monthly).

National Health Security Regulations 2018

National Health Security Act 2007

Defence Export Controls

Controls are placed on biological material which can be used for military purposes. Export restrictions include not only the export of physical (tangible) goods and technology, but also the supplypublication or brokering of controlled technology by electronic or other non-physical (intangible) means. For further information and a self-assessment tool see our Defence Export Controls webpage.



Vaccination for Staff and Higher Degree Research Students

Staff and Higher Degree Research Students who handle human or animal blood, tissue, excrement or body fluids, soil, unaged compost, pathogenic bacteria, prions, parasites or viruses are often at risk of occupational exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases. Personnel considered at high risk are those in direct physical contact, contact with contaminated surfaces/equipment or exposed to infection by the respiratory route.

Immunisation is available to staff and Higher Degree Research Students.  The Communicable Diseases and Immunisation Guidelines provides information on current recommended vaccinations and procedures.‚Äč

Research Group Leaders must conduct a risk assessment as part of their IBC application to use biologicals. The IBC will recommend vaccinations to be undertaken. Facility Managers should complete a Facility Risk Assessment Form to determine the need for vaccination.

Staff and HDR students requiring vaccination should be given a vaccination form to take to either the UniSA Health Medical Clinic or GP. Personnel will return the completed form to their Line Manager for record keeping on the secure University servers.

Cost of vaccination can be charged directly to either Academic Unit, Institute, Centre, Portfolio or research project funding, through a UniSA Health Medical Clinic. To claim on this system a fs32 form must be completed and submitted to the UniSA Health Medical Clinic. Personnel may use their own General Practioner or Travel Doctor and then seek reimbursement through their Research Group Leader or Facility Manager.

A schemic representation of processes is available. Further information is available through the Biosafety Officer,

Conflicts of Interest

Members of the Institutional Biosafety Committee register their personal interests which may be perceived by others to conflict with their unbiased assessment of applications. Conflicted members do not read or vote on applications or matters with which they are conflicted.

Applicants are welcome to discuss any concerns about conflicts of interest and request that a specific IBC member not review a matter, by contacting the Executive Officer

UniSA Support

  • UniSA Biosafety Officer and IBC: (Ph. 830 23723)
  • Animal Facility Biosecurity:
  • Cell Sorting Facility Manager:
  • Principal Investigator of your project
  • Your Senior Facility Manager
  • Your Operations/General Manager
  • Safety and Wellbeing:



Anonymous Reporting

Have you witnessed a supervisor encouraging unsafe biosafety practises?

Have you seen a colleague engaging in unsafe practises?

Are you concerned that the personal protective equipment is inadequate to provide safety?

We invite you to contact the Biosafety Officer,, or the Manager of Research Integrity,

Your name and personal details will not be revealed to anyone, including the Institutional Biosafety Committee.