Safety and Ethics Guidelines

Note: The following is a summary of some important points.  The notes below are not to be a replacement for the entire Safety and Ethics regulations published by Youth Science Canada.

Fire Safety
Operation of an open flame, candle, torch or any other heating device is not permitted. Smoking is not permitted.

Electrical Safety
If your project requires electricity, please ensure that is indicated in your registration.

All AC electrical equipment used in your display must have a functional three-wire plug with ground or be CSA approved. Extension cords, power bars and lighting must be CSA approved.

Electrical cords shall have a three-wire conductor with ground and must be CSA approved and in good repair.

Any modification to an electrical device negates the CSA approval, and that device must not be used. Dry cells (Alkaline, NiCad, NiMH, LiIon, etc.) and sealed lead-acid batteries (gel cells) may be used. Wet cell batteries are not permitted.

Electrical devices constructed by finalists must comply with the following requirements to be approved for display. As they cannot be CSA approved, these devices may only be connected and operated during judging.

  • Electrical devices must be protected by a non-combustible enclosure.
  • An insulating grommet is required at the point where electrical service enters an enclosure.
  • Electrical devices shall use as low a voltage as possible
  • The electric current must be limited so as not to cause any danger or discomfort if the terminals are touched
  • A pilot light must be used to indicate when power is on

Structural and Mechanical Safety

Exhibits must be sturdy, self supporting and sufficiently stable to prevent accidental tipping.

Sharp edges or corners of prisms, mirrors, enclosures and glass or metal plates that may be contacted by the public must be removed or protected to prevent injury.

Dangerous moving parts such as belts, gears, pulleys and blades must be provided with a guard to prevent access to the moving parts.

An in-running nip hazard of any part of a motor, device or thing that may be a danger shall be guarded to prevent contact with the pinch point.

Compressed gas cylinders shall not be displayed.

Moving exhibits (e.g., radio-controlled vehicles, robots) shall be restricted to the regulation display space. The Committee may, at its discretion, provide an area to safely demonstrate projects that require more than the regulation display space.

Chemical Safety
The following materials shall not be displayed:

  • Flammable, toxic or dangerous chemicals
  • Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications

Photographs or empty packages of prohibited materials may be displayed.

The display of chemicals is discouraged; however, other substances can be used to simulate chemicals for display purposes:

  • Table salt can be used to simulate many chemicals, such as ammonium nitrate.
  • Water can represent alcohol, ether and many other liquids. Molasses can be used to simulate petroleum products.
  • When chemicals are simulated, they should be identified with the name of the substance they represent, preceded by the word “simulated.” Any WHMIS labels (supplier or workplace) should be attached to show understanding of safe work practices.

The total quantity of liquids displayed at a project shall not exceed 1 litre. Photographs and/or video should be used to demonstrate processes requiring larger quantities of liquid.

The following materials shall not be displayed:

  • Biological toxins
  • Cell or tissue samples including blood and blood products, except on sealed microscope slides, which may be displayed
  • Plants or plant tissue
  • Soil containing organic material
  • Cultures – Photographs or simulated cultures may be used.

Images of Humans
The project display may include pictures of participants if prior permission has been obtained. Projects dealing with forensic science topics must preserve the anonymity of any human victims, and project displays must avoid sensational or gratuitously macabre images.

Animals and Animal Parts
Live animals (whether microorganisms, non-vertebrate and vertebrate) shall not be displayed.

The only parts of vertebrate animals that may be displayed are those that are either naturally shed by an animal or parts properly prepared and preserved. For example, porcupine quills (safely contained), shed snake skin, feathers, tanned pelts and hides, antlers, hair samples, skeletons and skeletal parts are permissible, while cell and tissue samples are not, as indicated under Biohazards.

Photographs of animals, animal parts or organs may be used on the display and in the Project Report; however, finalists and Regional Science Fair committees must be aware that other exhibitors and members of the public might find such photographs offensive. Finalists are encouraged to choose their photographs in accordance with the accepted norms of the community.

Firearms, Hazardous Materials and Equipment
Firearms (even if appropriately locked), ammunition, dangerous goods or explosives shall not be displayed. The manner in which such materials were used in a project may be conveyed through text, photos, video, computers or simulation.

Images of humans or animals that have been injured by the use of firearms or explosives shall not be displayed. Such images are deemed unsuitable for general public viewing and do not contribute to the scientific value of a project.

X-ray or hazardous radiation-producing equipment may be displayed but must not be operated at any time.

Radioisotopes or compounds containing radioisotopes at activities above normal background shall not be displayed.