Research and Research Training Portfolio


What is biosafety?

Biosafety refers to principles, technology and practices that are implemented to prevent unintentional exposure to biological agents and toxins, or their accidental release. Biological agents are microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses and prions), which may affect humans, plants, and terrestrial and aquatic animals. Microorganisms may also produce small molecules (toxins) which account for their pathogenicity.

The general approach when working with microorganisms is to regard them as potential pathogens and handle them using standard microbiological precautions.

Approximately 20% of laboratory-acquired infections follow known accidents with infectious material (such as needle-stick injuries), with the remaining 80% generally attributed to the inhalation of aerosols generated from common activities such as homogenising, vortexing and centrifuging. It is important to take these infection pathways into account when completing a risk assessment involving the use of microorganisms.

Primary Contacts

Research Governance Team

Endorsement of the Biosafety, Biosecurity and Gene Technology Framework

The University's Biosafety, Biosecurity and Gene Technology Operations Framework has been endorsed by the University Research Committee.

The Framework seeks to define and implement best-practices for identifying, understanding and addressing risks to human health, primary production and the natural environment arising from the use of gene technology, biologically-hazardous materials and imported biological materials at the University of Tasmania.

The Framework adopts a series of high-level principles, which are actioned through a series of systems and controls, to mitigate risks, facilitate research and support stakeholders.

For further information on any aspect of the Framework, or to arrange a presentation or Q&A session with your research group or discipline, please email

Biosafety, Biosecurity and Gene Technology Operations Framework (.pdf, 581KB)