So you get a raw image of a compromised system and then you load it on an application suite like Autopsy. If the system had some kind of malware, could it spread to the operating system in which Autopsy is installed? I mean basically for loading the image, not because there is some vulnerability in the application itself.
It's somewhat safe to load on Autopsy, to dissect it using fwextract, lazarus, and with a bunch of forensics tools, but is not safe to execute anything of it nor open any files from it using the default applications.
It's easy to create a bunch of infected pdf files that will exploit your Adobe Reader, or png files, or whatever. Some files can infect your system if you run
strings on it.
To be safe, use a VM to explore a infected system. It's easier to maintain, and you can clean up everything if you mess things up.