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Radiation, Biosafety and Hazardous Substances

ECU has established a committee that provides advice and assistance to the University on applying legislation, policy and guidelines that govern radiation, biosafety and hazardous substances. The Radiation, Biosafety and Hazardous Substances Committee (RBHSC) is inclusive of the Institutional Biosafety Committee requirement.

The committee is made up of representatives from Schools and Service Centre's including specialists from a variety of disciplines such as OSH and external persons.

Please contact the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), Biosafety Officer (BSO) or RBHSC with any queries at RBHSC@ads.ecu.edu.au

A list of School/Service Centre Chemalert administrators is available ChemAlert Administrators

Before conducting research, teaching or general operational activities involving radiation, biosafety and hazardous substances at ECU, staff and students must identify the hazards inherent with their work, seek any approvals needed from ECU RBHSC before work commences, and document safety protocols in a written risk assessment for staff or students that is approved in accordance with the risk acceptance criteria. To do this you will need to follow ECU's process for identifying and controlling hazards associated with activities or projects involving radiation, biosafety and hazardous substances (RBHS). Download the process flow diagram which provides and overview of the process, links that provide the user with further information to assist understanding and forms that will need to be completed if required.

Staff and students are required to comply with the workplace procedures, to report any incidents and raise any safety, health or security concerns relating to RBHS with their Supervisor, area Chemalert administrator, RSO and BSO. Any incident should be reported and investigated in line with ECU Incident Reporting and Investigation Procedure. Each individual is responsible for taking reasonable and practicable steps to ensure their own health and safety when working with radiation, biological materials and chemicals in particular hazardous substances.

The Radiation Safety Act 1975 and associated regulations impose a number of restrictions for the use of:

  • Radioactive substances and materials – liquid or solid e.g. isotopes
  • Irradiating Equipment:
    • High powered lasers, X-ray or neutron apparatus e.g. DEXA, pQCT, XCT
    • UV transilluminators

All such substances and instruments must be registered and most can only be used under the supervision of a suitably qualified, trained individual with an appropriate Western Australian (WA) government issued licence. Suitably qualified licence holders must supervise the day-to-day radiation safety aspects of every radiation activity.

Staff and students who are planning radiation related work, or have questions about radiation safety should in the first instance contact the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO). Staff and students are required to comply with the workplace procedures, to report any incidents and raise any safety, health or security concerns with the RSO and Supervisor. Each individual is responsible for taking reasonably practicable steps to ensure their own health and safety when working with radiation.

The University RSO is responsible for instituting and maintaining a system of radiation safety at the University. This system is monitored by the RBHSC. The University RSO can offer assistance and advice on all matters related to radiation safety including registration and licencing requirements.

Biosafety refers to the containment and control of bio-hazardous organisms, (agents that can cause human or animal disease, or which may be a risk to Australian agriculture). ECU complies with the following legislation and standards to ensure it meets its biosafety requirements:  Australian/New Zealand Standard 2243.3 for Microbiological Safety, Gene Technology Act, Biosecurity Act, Defence Trade Control Act and National Security Act.

If your research, teaching or general operational activity involves using genetically modified organisms (GMOs), quarantined materials, infectious micro-organisms, or biological hazards, you will need to work in accordance with all the legislative requirements, and at a standard that ensures the health and safety of staff, students, the wider community and the environment. 

Examples of biological substances and materials include but are not limited to: Human body fluid and tissue, security sensitive biological agents (SSBA), moulds, yeasts, fungi, viruses, animals, Insects – e.g. mites, Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Staff and students who are planning work involving biological substances and materials or have questions about biological safety should in the first instance contact the Biosafety Officer (BSO). Staff and students are required to comply with the workplace procedures, to report any incidents and raise any safety, health or security concerns with the BSO and their Supervisor. Each individual is responsible for taking reasonable and practicable steps to ensure their own health and safety when working with chemicals and in particular hazardous substances.

The University BSO is responsible for instituting and maintaining a system of biosafety at the University. This system is monitored by the RBHSC. The University Biosafety Officer can offer assistance and advice on all matters related to biosafety including the approvals, licences and permit requirements.

The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 1996 require the following minimum standards be met for chemicals and hazardous substances;

  • All chemicals present in the workplace must be correctly labelled
  • For all hazardous substances, a register must be maintained and a risk assessment must be completed
  • All chemicals must be appropriately stored and purchased.
  • Personnel using chemicals must be provided with adequate information and training, and hazardous waste must be appropriately disposed of.

Hazardous chemicals and other substances present in the workplace are those that have the potential to harm the health of persons, causing illness or disease. This general definition includes dangerous goods and poisons. Examples of hazardous substances include but are not limited to: hazardous chemicals, general laboratory chemicals, poisons, pesticides, scheduled drugs, chemicals of security concern (CSC) and reagents/precursors to illicit drug manufacture.

ChemAlert

The ChemAlert system is used to assist ECU in managing chemicals including hazardous substances in the workplace. For Schools/Service Centres with hazardous substances ChemAlert Administrators are available to assist with queries.

A list of School/Service Centre ChemAlert Administrators is available here.

Contact RBHSC@ads.ecu.edu.au to set up a ChemAlert Administrator for your School/Service Centre.

Staff and students who are planning work involving chemicals and/or hazardous substances, or have questions about chemical safety should, in the first instance, contact the area Chemalert administrator. The University Chemalert Administrators are responsible for instituting and maintaining a system of chemical safety at the University. This system is monitored by the RBHSC. University Chemalert Administrators can offer assistance and advice on all matters related to chemical safety, including the chemical register and any legal requirements.

Chemalert Administrators can offer assistance and advice on all matters related to chemical safety, including the chemical register and any legal requirements.

Hazardous Chemical Information System (HCIS)

The HCIS provides information on chemicals that have been classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

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