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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.
- BRSC Terms of Reference (DOCX, 58.27 KB) (opens in a new window)
|Meeting date||Submission deadline||Venue|
|10 Feb 2023||27 Jan 2023||Hawkesbury (L2.G.13)|
|24 Mar 2023||10 Mar 2023||Campbelltown (30.3.39)|
|5 May 2023||21 Apr 2023||Westmead NICM (J.G.31)|
|16 Jun 2023||2 Jun 2023||Campbelltown (30.3.39)|
|28 Jul 2023||14 Jul 2023||Hawkesbury (L2.G.13)|
|8 Sep 2023||25 Aug 2023||Campbelltown THRI Lvl 1 Seminar Room (3.1.45)|
|20 Oct 2023||6 Oct 2023||Hawkesbury (L2.G.13)|
|1 Dec 2023||17 Nov 2023||TBC|
Guidelines, Resources and Legislation
- GMO Project Approval Procedure (DOCX, 249.97 KB) (opens in a new window)
- GMO Project Amendment Procedure (DOCX, 246.32 KB) (opens in a new window)
- Dealing with a GMO (DOCX, 59.07 KB) (opens in a new window)
- Techniques and Organisms that are not Gene Technology (DOCX, 60.38 KB) (opens in a new window)
- WSU Radiation Management Plan (PDF, 1317 KB) (opens in a new window)
- Biological and Gene Technology Work Safety Policy (opens in a new window)
- NSW Environmental Protection Authority (opens in a new window)
- Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (opens in a new window)
- Explanatory Information – Guide to Physical Containment Levels and Facility Types (opens in a new window)
- Guidelines and Forms for Certifications of Physical Containment Facilities (opens in a new window)
- Guidance Note for the Submission of Applications to Modify Certifications (i.e. Variation, Suspension, Lift of Suspension, Surrender and Transfer) (opens in a new window)
- Importation Requirements for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) (opens in a new window)
- Guidelines for the Transport, Storage and Disposal of GMOs (opens in a new window)
- Application to Import Quarantine Materials (opens in a new window)
- Radiation Safety Information Page (opens in a new window)
- Gene Technology Legislation (opens in a new window)
- Gene Technology Regulations 2001 – Schedule 1A: Techniques that are not gene technology (opens in a new window)
- Gene Technology Regulations 2001 – Schedule 1: Organisms that are not GMOs (opens in a new window)
- Gene Technology Regulations 2001 – Schedule 2: Dealings exempt from licensing (opens in a new window)
- Gene Technology Regulations 2001 – Schedule 3: Notifiable low risk dealings in relation to a GMO (opens in a new window)
- Radiation Control Regulations (opens in a new window) (NSW EPA)
Training Requirements – Laboratories and Facilities
|Laboratory Facility/Equipment||Induction/Training*||How to enrol|
|All laboratory facilities|
Work Health and Safety modules 1-5 (online)
Local site supervisor (or delegate) to provide
|General laboratory (e.g. wet chemistry, PC1)||Hazardous Chemicals (face-to-face)||MyCareer Online1 or contact WHS|
|PC2 facility||Biosafety and working in PC2 facilities (online module)||Contact WHS|
|OGTR certified facility (PC1 and PC2)||Working in OGTR certified facilities (online module)||Contact WHS|
|Radiation - Unsealed sources||Radiation Safety - Unsealed sources (face-to-face)||Contact WHS|
|Radiation - Sealed sources||Radiation Safety - Sealed sources (face-to-face)||Contact WHS|
|Radiation - X-ray Analysis Equipment: fixed||Radiation Safety – X-ray Analysis Equipment: fixed (face-to-face)||Contact WHS|
|Radiation - X-ray Analysis Equipment: portable||Radiation Safety – X-ray Analysis Equipment: portable (face-to-face)||Contact WHS|
|Lasers||Laser Safety (face-to-face)||Contact WHS|
Contact Animal Ethics
Contact the lab/facility manager
*Exemptions may be granted upon providing evidence of previously completed recognised training.
1 Contact WHS if you don't have access to MyCareerOnline
BRSC Terms of Reference
The Western Sydney University Biosafety and Radiation Safety Committee (BRSC) is responsible for the oversight of biosafety and radiation safety across the University. The BRSC also acts on behalf of the University, as the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) as required by the Gene Technology Act 2000. The BRSC is a governance committee of the University.
Functions and Responsibilities
The BRSC is constituted to:
- Advise the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and International) regarding genetic manipulation, biological and radiation safety compliance and policy matters;
- Minimise biological and radiation risk, and ensure compliance with the Gene Technology Act, Radiation Control Act and other relevant legislation in regards to radiation, and the National Security Act as they apply to the University
- This will be accomplished by assessing, approving, monitoring and maintaining records of teaching and research proposals associated with:
- specimens of human or animal origin that are not certified to be pathogen free
- infectious/potentially infectious animals (laboratory and non-laboratory)
- microorganisms or agents classified as Risk Group 2 and above (see AS/NZS 2243.3)
- infectious/potentially infectious environmental samples
- biological toxins including biological material on the Defence Strategic Goods List
- genetically modified organisms (includes plants, animals, microorganisms, cells and all exempt dealings)
- security sensitive biological agents (SSBA)
- quarantine material
- ionising radiation sources, radioactive materials and equipment, and lasers above class 2.
In addition, the committee will be responsible for:
- Recommending guidelines for safe work practices and procedures when storing, using, transporting or disposing of biological and radioactive products;
- Providing advice on working with biological hazards including potentially infectious agents, genetically modified organisms and/or imported biological materials from overseas;
- Overseeing the certification of physical containment facilities and inspecting all certified physical containment facilities as legislatively required, or at least annually;
- Maintaining records, including a register of all GMOs, regarding approved applications involving GMOs in accordance with the requirements of the Gene Technology Regulation;
- Providing an annual report to the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR);
- Ensuring that accidents and incidents involving GMOs and radiation are investigated and reported to the relevant Regulatory authority as required;
- Recommending appropriate training for personnel using radioactive materials and apparatus, and high powered lasers;
- Overseeing the personal monitoring program for individuals conducting radiation work to ensure compliance with statutory requirements, guidelines and codes of practice;
- Considering other matters of radiation and biosafety that affect the University’s compliance with relevant statutory requirements, guidelines, codes of practice and University Policy;
- Maintaining liaison with extramural organisations concerned with biological and radiation safety; and
- Reporting annually to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and International).
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 previous BRSC experience.
The committee will include: a representative from Work Health and Safety (WHS); a specialist in radiation safety; a representative from Division of Finance and Resources (Infrastructure Services), and an independent member (not otherwise affiliated with the University).
In addition, four to six other staff and academic members will be appointed to the committee with expertise in:
- molecular biology, biochemistry;
- plant pathology, plant physiology, plant genetics;
- microbiology, immunology, infectious diseases;
- health sciences;
- medicine, pharmacology; and/or
- laboratory maintenance and functionality.
All appointments to the BRSC will be made by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and International). An appointed member shall hold office for a term of three years and upon retirement, shall be eligible for re-appointment.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and International) 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.
Committee Membership Opportunities
All appointments are made by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research, Enterprise and International).
For all enquiries, please contact David Cheng (opens in a new window)
There are eight (8) meetings each year; one every six weeks 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 relating to gene technology matters will be approved without the independent member being present or consulted.
The BRSC may establish and maintain sub-committees as it deems necessary to effectively complete its business.
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, Enterprise and International).