Research Division


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 Contact

Sam Poynter, Biosafety and Biosecurity Officer

Draft biosafety, biosecurity and gene technology operations framework open for comment

The Draft Biosafety, Biosecurity and Gene Technology Operations Framework has been released for comment, and your feedback is welcomed on the draft prior to its implementation.  

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.

In preparation for the implementation of the Framework, you are invited to review the draft and provide comments by March 30, 2020. Submissions may be lodged by email to At the end of the consultation period, feedback will be consolidated, and a final draft of the Framework will be delivered to stakeholders in a series of roadshow presentations.

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

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