Biosafety training

Personnel working with Genetically Modified Organisms, Quarantine Materials, Animals, Plants or material that contains Biological Risk Group Agents, must be appropriately trained before entry into a biological containment laboratory or commencement of any work.

There are three levels of training required as part of the Biosafety training program at VU:

  • Organisational
  • Lab-specific
  • Project-specific.

Organisational training

Organisational training is provided by the Office for Research on behalf of the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Training records are kept by the Office for Research. Training courses must be refreshed every five years. An 80% pass on the competency assessment is required for successful completion of the course.
Access to online organisational training

  1. Register your details with the Biosafety Manager:
  • first name
  • last name
  • student/staff number
  • position (student/RA/Postdoc etc..)
  • phone
  • email address

2. Log on to your MYVU Portal.
3. Select VU Collaborate from the menu bar.
4. Select the SPRT Biosafety Course.
5. Complete & submit the competency assessment for the units relevant to your appointment.

Any problems, please contact the Biosafety Manager.

Training courses

1. OGTR Compliance (online; course code IBC-T001#)

Audience: Compulsory for personnel working with GMOs, or within an OGTR certified containment lab.

Topics covered:

  • Gene technology legislation
  • The role of the Office for Gene Technology (OGTR)
  • The role of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
  • Classification of 'dealings' with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Approval process for dealings involving GMOs
  • Classification of OGTR facilities
  • Structural requirements for certified OGTR facilities
  • Behavioural requirements, responsibilities and incident reporting
  • OGTR transport, storage and disposal requirements.

Duration: 1 hour

2. Biosafety Compliance (online; course code IBC-T002#)

Audience: Compulsory for personnel working with biological risk group agents, or within containment labs.

Topics covered:

  • Biosafety legislation
  • AS 2243.3
  • Biological risk group agents (1 to 4)
  • Physical containment facilities (PC1 to PC4)
  • VU approval process for dealings involving risk group agents
  • VU internal lab certification process 
  • Safe microbiological practice and containment measures
  • Handling human tissues.

Duration: 1 hour

3. Import, Export Transport and Packaging of Biological Material (online; course code IBC-T003#)

Audience: Compulsory for personnel working with quarantined goods or importing, exporting or transporting biological material.

Topics covered:

  • Biosafety Regulations, Standards and Acts governing the import, export, transport and packaging of biological material
  • Biosecurity requirements
  • Australia Post requirements for the transport of biological material
  • Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) transport requirements for Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Dangerous Goods Regulations as they relate to Class 6 Infectious Material
  • Dangerous Goods Categories for biological material - Category A, B, C & Exempt
  • United Nations (UN) classification of infectious biological material - UN numbers, shipping names & shipping instructions
  • VU Procedure for Dealings Involving the Transport, Import and Export of Biological Material (IBC P004#)

Duration: 2 hours

4. Biosafety Cabinet training (online; course code IBC-T004#)

Audience: Compulsory for personnel using a biosafety cabinet.

Topics covered:

  • Purchase and installation of cabinets
  • Use and function of cabinets
  • Classification of cabinets
  • Appropriate and inappropriate use of cabinets
  • Understanding controls and indicators
  • How to use cabinets safely
  • How to decontaminate cabinets after use

Duration: 1 hour

5. Autoclave training (online; course code IBC-T005#)

Audience: Compulsory for personnel using an autoclave.

Topics covered:

  • Australian Standards for pressure vessels
  • Autoclave cycle type
  • Hazard level classification
  • Hazards associated with using an autoclave
  • Risk assessments
  • Protective equipment
  • Signage
  • Servicing and preventative maintenance programs
  • Monitoring and calibrating autoclaves
  • Use of indicators
  • Operational guidelines.

Duration: 1 hour

Lab-specific training

Lab-specific training is provided by the area lab technician and authorised trainers. A record of training is maintained by the Lab Technical Manager, and may be audited by the IBC at any time. Personnel must indicate to the certification holder that they understand their training by signing the training declaration. NB: The Biosafety Team has prepared a number of Lab Safety Guidelines & Checklists to assist in training; these can be found on VU Collaborate.

Audience: Compulsory for personal entering the lab including environmental services, engineering, security, IT and administrative personnel. Training must be arranged prior to commencing work in the lab with the area technician.

Topics covered:

A. General lab induction

  • Operational procedures
  • Lab safety rules
  • Emergency procedures
  • Procedures for handling and disposal of waste
  • Location of emergency stations and protective equipment.

B. Specific lab induction
High risk areas (e.g. tissue culture labs & animal houses) have specific induction processes where personnel are trained by an authorised trainer to use the facility.

C. Specific equipment induction
An equipment specific training program must be in place in every laboratory (e.g. centrifuge, autoclave, BSC II cabinet etc..). Personnel must be trained by an authorised trainer before they use any equipment.

Project-specific training

It is the responsibility of the project supervisor/subject coordinator to:

  • ensure personnel under their supervision attend the required safety training appropriate for the work performed
  • ensure that all staff/students are aware and compliant with the relevant OGTR regulations and biosafety guidelines in relation to using biohazards agents and GMOs in their particular projects
  • train (or organise the training of) staff/students in project specific activities
  • assess the competency of staff in project-specific activities.

Training records must be maintained by the primary investigator and may be requested by the IBC at any time.

Other training opportunities

Contact us

IBC Executive Officer | +61 3 9919 4781
Biosafety Manager | +61 3 9919 4199
Email: ibc@vu.edu.au