Safety

Be sure to check these Links to pages on this website that you will need:

FLASF expects that all projects submitted to the fair will be carried out in a safe manner and that the project display used at the fair will meet specific additional safety requirements. Any projects that do not meet such requirements will not be allowed at the science fair.

Planning and Carrying out your Experiments

Experiments carried out using flammable, explosive, poisonous or corrosive materials as well as drugs, prescription drugs, medicines or biological materials and dangerous equipment such as firearms or pressure vessels should be properly supervised by an adult who understands the hazards involved. If you plan to use any of these you must follow Youth Science Canada (YSC) policies:

In English en francais
Use of Firearms, Hazardous Materials and Equipment Firearms, Hazardous Materials and Equipment armes à feu, de matériel et d’équipement dangereux
Recombinant DNA and Biotechnological Safety Recombinant DNA and Biotechnological Safety securite en matiere d’ADN recombinant et biotechnologie

Human and animal testing

ALL experiments involving humans (including family or fellow students) and animals must follow YSC policies and you have to complete certain forms and submit them with your registration. Click on the Ethics link for more information and forms.

Preparing your project display

You must follow a number of rules in preparing your project display for the science fair. This is because you are presenting your project in a confined space, in an area with visitors and participants who are unfamiliar with your experiment or what hazards might be present.

NOTE THAT THIS MEANS THAT THE DISPLAY OF CHEMICALS, APPARATUS AND OTHER ITEMS YOU MAY HAVE USED IN YOUR EXPERIMENTS MAY BE RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED AT THE FAIR.  PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.

Your project display at the science fair is intended to show what you did, what you found out, and what it means. The judges evaluate the work you have already done. Therefore, you do not need to demonstrate exactly what you did. In many cases, this is not possible in the space permitted and in certain cases would not be permitted. You are encouraged to use diagrams, models, photos, short videos, etc to illustrate what you have done.

At the science fair, your project display will be reviewed by a team of inspectors to determine if it meets the strict safety requirements of the fair. The following sections explain the things they look for. By following these requirements you may avoid having to make last minute changes to your project display at the fair.

If you have questions please contact the Safety Coordinator safety as soon as possible and before completing your project display. Provide details and your contact telephone number as well as your email address.

Display Size and General Layout

Your entire project display must be placed on a table (supplied by the fair) and is restricted to a space of no more than 1.2 metres wide, 0.8 metres deep and 2.25 metres high (measured from the table top).

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All project apparatus and materials must fit within this project display area along with your display backboards. This includes any robotic or moving devices. Any moving parts on apparatus must be protected appropriately. Any equipment or materials that cannot fit within this space will have to be removed from the display area.

HINT: You may store extra apparatus underneath the table which can be brought out temporarily to show to the judges, provided it can be stored entirely underneath the permitted table top space.

HINT: You can use short video clips to show your experiment in operation if the apparatus is too big for your display area (or cannot be operated safely in the confined space of your display). Remember that such video clips also allow you to show the equipment operating in the optimum way and avoids embarrassing malfunctions on the day of fair.

Most participants use project display backboards. These must be sturdy and self-supporting; adjacent walls may not be used for support. Any items exhibited on the table space must be stable or secured to the table. All sheets on display should be taped or glued flat or contained in a binder. Sharp edges must be avoided on all items on display.

Avoiding spills of Liquid and Powder Samples

You must avoid spilling liquid and solid samples in the display area since this creates slipping and other hazards. Therefore the following rules apply.

  • Liquids and powders must be in sealed containers except when necessary to demonstrate something to a judge.
  • Containers should be unbreakable and as small as possible. Liquid containers should not exceed 1.5 liters.
  • Your display must not include any apparatus that explodes, erupts, pumps liquids, solids or gases under pressure or otherwise operates in a way that can cause spills. The apparatus can still be displayed, but not be operated unless specifically permitted by the Safety Coordinator. The Safety Coordinator may ask you to demonstrate that you have taken proper measures to avoid spills.

Chemicals

The following chemicals are prohibited from the fair:

  • Flammable, explosive, poisonous or corrosive materials
  • Drugs or medicines
  • Biological fluids (eg blood, etc)
  • Biological toxins
  • Radio-isotopes or compounds containing radio-isotopes at activities above normal background.
  • Any materials requiring special protective equipment for handling (such as masks, gloves, eye protection) as specified in MSDS or WHMIS documents.

See for example:

EHSO – Environment, Health and Safety Online: http:// www.ehso.com/msds.php 

Chemical Safety Software: https://chemicalsafety.com/sds-search/

Other chemicals/materials must be displayed in such a way as to prevent accidental spills. Except when demonstrating something to a judge, liquids and powders must be in sealed unbreakable containers.

HINT: Chemicals that are otherwise prohibited may be displayed as “simulated chemicals”, using a harmless substance and labeling the container as “simulated”. Common table salt, for example, can be used to simulate ammonium nitrate or any white granular substance; water can replace alcohol, ether, chloroform or other highly flammable liquids; and molasses can be used instead of petroleum products. When chemicals are simulated, they should be clearly labelled with the name of the substance they represent and the word “simulated”. Alternatively, photographs or empty containers may be used.

Plants & Animals

Live organisms (either plant or animal) must not be displayed, even in sealed containers. This includes

  • bacteria,
  • moulds,
  • fungi,
  • other micro-organisms, and
  • animals (vertebrate and invertebrate).

FLASF allows one exception to this rule at the regional science fair. Green plants may be displayed provided (a) they are displayed in a safe manner within your allotted display area with no danger of spills of plant or growth media and (b) the plant material and growing media comply with chemical safety requirements and liquid handling requirements. Note that plants should be removed from the exhibit area to be watered and must be drained of any excess water before returning to the exhibit.

HINT: Use photographs to illustrate the project. These are often better illustrations than the samples themselves. Micro-organisms in petri dishes may be simulated by painted patterns on the covers.

REMINDER: If your experiment involved human or animal subjects we are required to follow the YSC guidelines. Such experiments require submission of appropriate forms on registration. Click on this link for more information and forms –> Ethics

Electrical

REMINDER: If you need access to electrical power for your display, remember to request power access when you complete your on-line registration. You must provide a 6 meter CSA approved extension cord to connect.

  • 120 VAC equipment, including electrical power bars, supplies and cords and other 120 VAC equipment must be in good condition, and CSA approved. No modifications to 120 VAC equipment that would cancel the CSA approval are permitted. No exposed (non-insulated) 120 VAC conductors are permitted.
  • “Home-made” 120 VAC equipment (for example wired using junction boxes, wired-in switches or similar devices) and any other non-compliant equipment can be displayed but must not be connected at any time to the 120 VAC supply. Any instructions by the safety coordinator about use of 120 VAC equipment must be followed.
  • Home-made battery powered electrical apparatus operating at 12 Volts or less are permitted and may be operated. Other “low voltage” apparatus may be operated only if approved by the Safety Coordinator.
  • Only sealed type batteries may be used.

Other restrictions

  • You must not use flames of any sort in your display.
  • You must not use heat sources of any kind in your project display. This includes heat lamps, hot air guns and hair driers except when operated “cold”.
  • No pressurized tanks, canisters or gas cylinders are permitted in the display area.
  • Only ANSI ‘Class 1’ unmodified Lasers or laser diodes can be operated.
  • Air/Hydraulic pressure systems must be non-operational and open to the atmosphere.

Contact Us:
If you have any questions about Science Fair safety policies or regulations, ask the safety coordinator at safety For a complete list of FLASF contacts, see Contact Us