Research and Research Training Portfolio

Physical Containment (PC) Facilities

The hazard and risk posed by different microorganisms varies greatly. This variation is reflected in the organisation of microorganisms into risk groups. The Physical Containment (PC) level describes the design of the laboratory or facility used when working with microorganisms. The PC level shall be at least the appropriate level to the risk group of the microorganism - ie. PC1 for RG1 microorganisms and PC2 for RG2.

All work done in a laboratory or facility of a specific PC level shall follow procedures and requirements prescribed for that level of PC as outlined in Section 5 of AS2243.3 Safety in Laboratories - Microbiological Safety and Containment.

Note: Activities involving genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) must be conducted in a PC facility which is certified by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). For more details, refer to the Gene Technology website.

The University of Tasmania has several PC1 and PC2 facilities available for research activities. Contact the relevant facility manager or biorisk.management@utas.edu.au for more information.

Physical Containment Levels

Physical Containment Level 1 (PC1)

A PC1 laboratory or facility is suitable for work with microorganisms where the hazard levels are low, and where laboratory or facility personnel can be adequately protected by standard laboratory practice.

Physical Containment Level 2 (PC2)

A PC2 laboratory or facility with appropriate practices and infrastructure is appropriate for research involving material likely to contain Risk Group (RG) 2 microorganisms. If activities involving material which is likely to aerosolise, or with microorganisms transmissable by the respiratory route are performed, they must be done so in a biosafety cabinet (BSC).

Physical Containment Level 3 (PC3) and Level 4 (PC4)

PC3 and PC4 facilities provides additional building features and services to minimise the risk of infection or release appropriate to the use of RG3 and RG4 microorganisms.

Note: There are no certified PC3 or PC4 facilities in Tasmania.