Biosafety and Radiation Safety

Many biological organisms or substances derived from biological organisms may be hazardous to both individuals and the environment if not handled appropriately.

Committee and Meeting Dates

Biosafety and Radiation Safety Committee

The Biosafety and Radiation Safety Committee (BRSC) has been established to monitor research and teaching proposals involving the use of micro-organisms of Risk Group 2 or higher, in vivo use of imported biological products, specimens of human origin (including blood products), recombinant DNA and ionising radiation sources.

Researchers must ensure their work complies with correct laboratory procedures for dealing with biological products. Guidelines issued by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) (opens in a new window) outline the requirements for working with genetically altered material and provides detail about containment facilities that may be necessary. Australian Standard AS/NZS 2243.3.2010 Safety in Laboratories – Microbiological Safety and Containment (opens in a new window) details safe work practices and classification of micro-organisms by risk groups.

When work involves the use of animals and there are potential biohazards (e.g. in vivo use of imported biological products) both the Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC) and the Biosafety and Radiation Safety Committee (BRSC) must review the proposal.

Meeting Dates

2018 meeting dates and submission deadlines
Meeting date Submission deadline Venue
16 Feb 20182 Feb 2018 Hawkesbury campus
23 Mar 20189 Mar 2018 Campbelltown campus
School of Medicine, Building 30, Board Room
11 May 2018 27 Apr 2018 Hawkesbury campus
22 Jun 20188 Jun 2018 Campbelltown campus
School of Medicine, Building 30, Board Room
3 Aug 2018 20 Jul 2018 Campbelltown campus
School of Medicine, Building 30, Board Room
14 Sep 201831 Aug 2018 Campbelltown campus
26 Oct 2018 12 Oct 2018 Hawkesbury campus
14 Dec 201830 Nov 2018 TBA

Guidelines, Resources and Legislation




BRSC Terms of Reference


The Biosafety and Radiation Safety Committee (BRSC) is responsible for the oversight of biosafety and radiation safety across the University. The BRSC also acts as the Institutional Biosafety Committee as required by the Gene Technology Act 2000.

Functions and Responsibilities

The BRSC is constituted to:

  • Advise the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Development) regarding genetic manipulation, biological and radiation safety compliance and policy matters
  • Minimise risk and ensure compliance with the Gene Technology Act and Regulations, Radiation Control Act and Regulations, and the National Security Act and Regulations as they apply to the University by assessing, approving, monitoring and maintaining records of teaching and research proposals associated with:
    • unscreened specimens of human or animal origin
    • infectious/potentially infectious animals
    • potential pathogenic organisms or agents
    • biological toxins including biological material on the Defence Strategic Goods List
    • the use of recombinant DNA
    • ionising radiation sources, radioactive materials and equipment, and lasers above class 2
    • Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBA)
    • imported biological materials.
  • Conduct assessments of and approve all teaching and research applications involving the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as described in the Gene Technology Act (2000) and Regulation (2001) and related requirements published by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) (opens in a new window)
  • Review and approve applications involving the use of agents classified as Risk Group 2 and above (AS/NZS 2243 Safety in Laboratories Part 3, Microbiological Aspects and Containment Facilities), regardless of GMO status
  • Recommend guidelines for safe work practices and procedures when storing, using, transporting or disposing of biological and radioactive products
  • Provide advice on working with biological hazards including potentially infectious agents, genetically modified organisms and/or imported biological materials from overseas
  • Oversee the certification of physical containment facilities and inspect all certified physical containment facilities as legislatively required, or at least annually
  • Maintain records, including a register of all GMOs, regarding approved applications involving GMOs in accordance with the requirements of the Gene Technology Regulation
  • Provide an annual report to the OGTR
  • Ensure that accidents and incidents involving GMOs and radiation are investigated and reported to the relevant regulatory authority as required
  • Recommend appropriate training for personnel using radioactive materials and apparatus, and high powered lasers
  • Oversee the personal monitoring program for individuals conducting radiation work to ensure compliance with statutory requirements, guidelines and codes of practice
  • Oversee the implementation of quarantine and biosecurity legislation, including the registration of Quarantine Approved Premises
  • Review applications for import permits of biohazardous material or biological material that falls under the Gene Technology Act.

Membership of the Committee

The membership of the BRSC must have the collective technical and scientific expertise to review and assess all the matters that are likely be put to it by the organisation.

The Chair is a senior academic with appropriate expertise and is appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Development).

The committee will include: a representative from Work Health and Safety (WHS); a specialist in radiation safety; a member from the Animal Ethics Committee; a representative from Capital Works, and an independent member (not otherwise affiliated with the University). These will be appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Development).

Four to six other staff and academic members will be appointed to the committee by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Development) such that the committee represents expertise in:

  • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry
  • Plant Pathology, Plant Physiology, Plant Genetics
  • Microbiology, Immunology, Infectious diseases
  • Health Sciences
  • Medicine, Pharmacology
  • Laboratory maintenance and functionality.

An appointed member shall hold office for a term of two years and upon retirement, shall be eligible for re-appointment.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Development) may appoint a person to fill a casual vacancy in the membership of the Committee. The appointed individual's term will be the same as their predecessor.


There are five (5) meetings each year; one every 2 months commencing in February.

The main business of the committee will be to consider new applications that require Biosafety and Radiation Safety approval and to carry out inspections of certified physical containment facilities. However, they will consider other matters of Radiation and Biosafety that affect the University e.g. University policy.

All conflicts of interest of committee members will be declared and recorded.

At any meeting of the BRSC, a quorum is one half (or if one half is not a whole number, the whole number next higher than one half) of the total number of its members then in office. No matter will be approved without a person with the relevant expertise being present.

For matters that apply to the Gene Technology Act 2000, the independent member is required to be present or have given their considerations in writing to the committee, if absent, for matters to be approved.

In addition the committee will:

  • Promote educational activities to ensure staff and students are familiar with correct laboratory practices with regard to biosafety and radiation safety and to provide current information for inquiries regarding biological and radiation safety matters
  • Maintain liaison with extramural organisations concerned with biological and radiation safety
  • Report annually to the Vice-Chancellor and President through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Development).