Biosafety Management and Immunisation

For full details regarding Biosafety Management please refer to the following documents on the UNSW HS website:

HS323 Biosafety Procedure

HS066 Animal Research HS Risk Identification Guideline

HS076 Classification of Infective Microorganisms

HS328 Information Sheet – Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs) – Guide for use

HS321 Laboratory Hazardous Waste Disposal Guideline

Identify hazards

Many areas of research and teaching in BEES require some level of Biosafety management. The following information is a brief summary from HS323. If you identify potential biohazards in your work area or tasks refer to the UNSW HS web site for greater detail regarding your required Biosafety Management Procedures.

Typically, biological hazards may arise from contact with all manner of biological materials, including but not limited to: microorganisms, animals (humans), plants and insects, and materials that may be contaminated with infectious microorganisms. Identification of biological hazards in your laboratory or field tasks must be documented in Safesys on a Risk Management Form and appropriate controls implemented.

Control risks

The controls should include production of a Safe Work Procedure that identifies what engineering and /or personal protective equipment is required as well as emergency response procedures. In addition, the Risk Management Form should identify what training and health surveillance is required, and other preventative measures like immunisation.

When it is identified that a person is at risk of exposure to a vaccine-preventable infectious disease the supervisor must provide information relating to the exposure and the relevant vaccination information offer prompt and appropriate immunisation.

Immunisation

Persons working with infectious organisms, human blood or bodily fluids or in animal holding facilities should routinely review their need for immunisation against preventable disease. In addition, persons involved in the following activities should review their need for immunisation and confidentially discuss this issue with their supervisor:

a. overseas travel,

b. participating in fieldwork,

c. working with waste or contaminated water,

d. working with plants and /or soil,

e. working with animals or insects,

f. administering First Aid,

g. cleaning or maintenance work, or

h. if a person is immunosuppressed or immunocompromised.

Workers who may be exposed to tetanus include people involved with animals; undertake soil or water studies; or field-based maintenance work.

Resources to assist the supervisor with identification of appropriate immunisation include:

- The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition (NHMRC, 2013)

- Animal Research HS Risk Identification Guideline (HS066)

- Immunisation Guideline – Tetanus, Hepatitus A, Hepatitus B, Q fever (HS435) 

- Immunisation Questionnaire and Authorisation Form (HS427)

- Decline of Immunisation Form (HS079) for those who choose not to be immunised

Register biological hazards

If you are working with biological materials in your laboratory the material should be registered in the laboratory’s Biohazard and Microorganism register and there should be documented approval in accordance with HS323 Biosafety Procedure – Section 3.2.4. The Physical Containment (PC) Level of the laboratory should be commensurate to the risk and appropriate hazard signage located on the entrance door(s). If work within a biosafety cabinet is required then the worker must be trained in the proper use of the biosafety cabinet and follow the procedures outline in HS328.

Waste disposal

All waste handling and disposal must be in accordance with the procedures outlined in HS321. Note: not all ‘biological’ waste has to be disposed via the Biological Waste Contractor. If the waste has been treated with chemicals then it is solid/liquid chemical waste and other materials like bedding, etc. may be deemed to be domestic waste. If the waste will suffer putrefaction it should be disposed in the yellow biological waste bins stored in the cold room 506. Refer to the Waste Disposal web page on the BEES HS website for further details.