Regulations and Safety

Information Booklet

Make your stay at the institute safe, productive and agreeable. This booklet should help you to find your way around at the IPS, and work and study safely and efficiently. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask the secretaries, the technical staff, the librarians or any of your colleagues.

First Aid

  • Stop
  • Look – what happened?
  • Think – what can I do? Other dangers?
  • Act – help methodical and competent

Safe What?

  1. Persons
  2. Equipment - do not take risks
  3. Results - do not take risks

Chemicals in Eyes

  • Immediately flush eye(s) with water for at least fifteen minutes. The eyes must be forcibly held open to wash, and the eyeballs must be rotated so all surface area is rinsed.
  • Remove contact lenses while rinsing. Do not lose time removing contact lenses before rinsing.
  • Seek medical attention regardless of the severity or apparent lack of severity.

Chemical Inhalation

  • Close containers, open windows or otherwise increase ventilation, and move to fresh air
  • If symptoms, such as headaches, nose or throat irritation, dizziness, or drowsiness persist, seek medical attention.
  • Review the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to determine what health effects are expected, including delayed effects.
  • Optionally contact Tox Info Suisse (phone 145) for instructions.

Chemicals on Skin or Clothing

  • Immediately flush with water for no less than 15 minutes (except for flammable solids). For larger spills, the safety shower (1st floor Brückentrakt) should be used.
  • While rinsing, quickly remove all contaminated clothing or jewelry. Seconds count. Do not waste time because of modesty.
  • Use caution when removing pullover shirts or sweaters to prevent contamination of the eyes.
  • Check the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to determine if any delayed effects should be expected.
  • Discard contaminated clothing or launder them separately from other clothing. Leather garments or accessories cannot be decontaminated and should be discarded.
  • Do not use solvents to wash skin. They remove the natural protective oils from the skin.
  • For flammable solids on skin, first brush off as much of the solid as possible
  • For phenol concentrations more than 10%, flush with water for 15 minutes or until the affected area turns from white to pink. Apply polyethylene glycol, if available.  Do not use ethanol.

Accidental Ingestion of Chemicals

  • Immediately contact Tox Info Suisse (phone: 145) for instructions.
  • Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by a health care provider.

Precaution and Security

Be sure to close and lock all laboratory and office doors when you leave!

Fire Prevention

Smoking is strictly prohibited throughout the Institute!
Solvents must only be stored in explosion-proof refrigerators.
If a fire breaks out, push the fire alarm button immediately and assist injured persons.
Please instruct the incoming fire brigade, which should arrive within 3 minutes.

Toxic Substances

Ensure that toxic substances are kept in appropriate sealed containers and
stored correctly. Only the amounts needed for the day’s work should be
accessible. Do not exceed the maximum recommended exposure to toxic compounds and always use suitable protective clothing (gloves etc.) and equipment.
Check the information of the University of Bern regarding handling and disposal of chemicals.

Radiological Safety and Biosafety

Before handling radioactive substances or genetically modified or pathogenic organisms, consult the information booklet of the IPS and check the information of the University (Biologische Sicherheit, Strahlenschutz). Contact the person in charge for radiological safety or biosafety.

Strangers / Unfamiliar People

If you encounter people in the Institute that you do not recognize, ask them who or what they are looking for. Escort them to that person or place.
Please call the police if you suspect the person is a drug-addict (Tel. 031 321 21 21).


Please call the police immediately in case of thefts (Tel. 031 321 21 21).

The Importance of Safety

Safety and health considerations are as important as any other materials taught in university science curricula. Occupational injury data from industry studies indicate that the injury rate is highest during the initial period of employment and decreases with experience. Similarly, in a university laboratory setting where students experience new activities, the likelihood of incidents, injury, and damage is high. Therefore, it is essential that the students are taught what can go wrong, how to prevent such events from occurring, and what to do in case of an emergency.

Handling Hazardous Laboratory Waste

Chemical waste must be labelled and then deposited in the room behind the workshop.

Proper Labelling and Storage of Waste

Add information about incompatibility and segregation of organics, acids, bases, and flammables

Please see the section Recycling

For the removal of other waste materials, Mr. Peter Ruprecht is responsible.

Recycling of Waste at the Institute of Plant Sciences

  • Waste glass and other waste is placed at the collecting point at the right side of the "Birrlihus".
  • Aluminium waste should be deposited under the stairs to the first floor of the "Birrlihus". For the removal of other waste materials, Mr. Willi Tanner is responsible.
  • Used batteries should be deposited in a box in the workshop.
  • Peter von Ballmoos orders recycled toner cartridges. Please return used cartridges in their cartonbox to Peter von Ballmoos in his office (Nr. 70).

Colour printing in comparison with B&W printing is much more expensive. For drafts printouts black/white laser printers should be used. By setting B&W‚ EconoMode (safe toner) or printing double-sided, toner and paper can be saved.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Handling Potentially Hazardous Materials Safely

  • Keep your work area clean and uncluttered, with chemicals and equipment properly labeled and stored. Clean up the work area on completion of an operation or at the end of each day.
  • Make sure you know where the nearest fire exit is.
  • Make sure you know where the eyewash stations, first aid boxes and fire extinguishers are located in each lab you use.
  • Always wear a lab coat (correctly fastened) - remove the lab coat if you leave the laboratory.
  • Wear safety glasses for handling hazardous chemicals.
  • Wear disposable gloves for handling hazardous chemicals or if you have a cut or wound on your hand.
  • Always remove gloves before opening doors, drawers, lab-books or handling any instrument controls to avoid contaminating surfaces.
  • Leave the fume hood "on" when it is not in active use, if toxic substances are stored inside or if it is uncertain whether adequate general laboratory ventilation will be maintained when it is "off." Close the glass front.
  • No open-toed footwear, no shorts in the laboratory.
  • Keep your hands away from your face, eyes, mouth, and body while using chemicals.
  • Food and drink, open or closed, should never be brought into the laboratory or chemical storage area. No eating, chewing gum, drinking, smoking, or application of cosmetics in areas where laboratory chemicals are present.
  • Dispose chemicals and bacterial cultures in a safe manner.
  • Report immediately any accident, spillage of chemicals, bacterial cultures or breakages to the person in charge. Report and mark not working equipment.
  • Do not put broken glass, pipette tips or needles in the normal waste.
  • Switch off all electrical equipment and gas burners when you are finished in the lab.