To successfully protect our health, our environment, our economy

                and our research, we must continue to engage in biosafety practices

at the highest level.

Spills and Incidents

Phone numbers and contacts

Spills procedures

Incident reporting

Reporting an unintentional release of a GMO

Disinfectants - The perfect match for your bug

Security Sensitive Biological Agents- What to do if you suspect the use of an SSBA


Handy Hint

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


Projects Involving Biological Material

Here is a list of some common sources of

 biologically hazardous materials.

Not all biological material is hazardous. 

Risk Assessment

Before commencing a new project, line managers must conduct a risk assessment.


Projects Involving Biological Material Checklist  


If, after completion of the Checklist, a potential biological hazard is identified, line managers should submit an application to the IBC. 

IBC Application Requirements

*Definition of SDN1

For clarification contact 

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.

Risk Group rating can be found through the ABSA Risk Group Database or the Product Information Sheet provided by the manufacturer.

Pathogenicity information can be found through the Canadian Pathogen Database .

Biological Hazard Application Form

Before obtaining signatures, send completed forms to for an initial review.

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 strategies are in place.


"We engage in biosafety and biosecurity not because the Regulations tell us to, but because we care about each other, ourselves and the environment: because we are trustworthy and ethical people."

Biosafety Training

When working with biologicals, it is important that we don't over estimate our biosafety knowledge and underestimate the risks. Biosafety training is important in avoiding those pitfalls and keeping you and your colleagues safe. 

Completion of the online Biosafety 1 training module and laboratory induction are compulsory for all new staff and research students wishing to work with biological material. 

It is the responsibility of Research Leaders and Facility Managers to ensure they and the staff and students directly under their supervision, are adequately trained to manage biological hazards and GMOs.

Training should include:

  • laboratory induction,
  • online Biosafety 1 training module
  • if using GMOs, reading and understanding the Gene Technology Guidelines for transport, storage and disposal,
  • face-to-face competence confirmed training for high risk procedures,
  • spills training,
  • attendance of the Biosafety Information Day at least once every three years,
  • reading and understanding of the Academic Unit laboratory biosafety manual

Research & Innovation Services and the IBC offer training program support. For support and further information contact:

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 Biosecurity 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 Research Degree Students

Staff and Research Degree 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 Research Degree Students.  The Communicable Diseases and Immunisation Guidelines (260kb) 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 Research Degree 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 schematic representation of processes (600kb) 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 practices?

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

Are you concerned about a potential misuse or dangerous modification of a genetically modified organism?

For any of these situations or others of concern, 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.

In addtion, any misuse or dangerous modification of genetically modified organisms can be reported directly to the Office of Gene Technology Regulator


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.

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.

The level of risk to staff and students varies depending on, amongst other things, the likelihood of samples containing infectious pathogens, the amount and viability of pathogens in the biological material and the number of droplets and aerosols produced by different laboratory procedures. Unless culturing SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organisation and UniSA Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) usually recommend the continued use of PC2 facilities and practices when working with human bodily fluids and tissues.

In the event of a Public Health Emergency or National Biosecurity Incident, the IBC and Research & Innovation Services may:

  • Contact Deans of Research, Heads of Academic Units, Facilities Management Unit and the Strategic Crisis Management Team to recommend enactment of Heightened Control Measures under specific circumstances.
  • Directly contact Research Group Leaders and Chief Investigators working with primary human material to request a new risk assessment be conducted in conjunction with the IBC.

In the event of a significant increase in risk from a Public Health Emergency or Biosecurity Incident, the IBC may request Heightened Control Measures.

The IBC may rescind its approval for a project and may request the implementation of Heightened Control Measures or other risk mitigation measures.

      Different laboratory procedures incurr different risks and require different risk mitigation strategies. A brief list of these is available in our summary document

Decontamination of Personal Protective Equipment

When PPE is in short supply, many researchers and facility managers consider the best and safest way to manage shortages, including reuse or decontamination of PPE.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has tested the effectiveness of PPE after extensive use, reuse or decontamination. To ensure compliance with both health and safety and legal requirements we recommend the TGA's policy on decontamination of masks and gowns be followed