Safety regulations General safety
- Safety to the public is a prime consideration. Suitable precautions must be taken to prevent the possibility of personal injury, property damage, and the legal action that could result from a lack of concern for safety.
-Exhibits must be sturdy with moving parts firmly attached and approved for safety. Each exhibit must be self-supporting. Electricity (AC 110 volt 60 cycle) will be supplied but no gas or water outlets will be provided. Switches and cords must be of the approved variety and circuits must be protected by fuses. Cell or battery-fed circuits should be both safe in design and operation.
- All sharp edges or corners on prisms, mirrors, enclosures, and glass and metal plates must be removed or otherwise protected.
- The length of hoses or extension cords is to be kept to a minimum and out of the way to eliminate tripping hazards. Use tape for securing.
- Aisles and exits should not be obstructed.
- Moving exhibits (e.g. radio-controlled vehicles, robots) should be restricted to the regulation display space. The Host Committee must try to provide an exhibition area to safely demonstrate projects that require more space than the regulated exhibit display space.
- In addition to the regulations noted here, there may be local municipal or provincial regulations which must be followed. The Host Committee shall share any such restrictions with RSFs in September preceding the fair.
- The exhibits must comply with all YSF Canada animal and safety regulations as outlined under the headings Regulations, Display of animals & animal parts, pages 4-6 and 4-7, and the CWSF Safety and Regulation Checklist, contained in Appendix I.
Fire safety (DIAPLAY PURPOSES)
Certain restrictions have been defined on the construction of displays to reduce the possibility of accidental fire during the fair, and in the event of fire, to allow for safe evacuation of the building.
The Host Committee will be responsible for ensuring that fire extinguishers of proper size and rating are available in the exhibition area. The Host Committee will establish a fire evacuation plan, and an exhibit hall layout that minimizes long rows in order to reduce flame spread.
Combustible material must not be used near a heat source.
Open flames must not be used.
Smoking is not permitted in the exhibit area.
Packing material must not be stored in the exhibit hall.
Chemical safety (DISPLAY PURPOSES)
- No containers of toxic or flammable chemicals are allowed.
- Dangerous chemicals are not allowed-this includes prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication.
- Substitutes for toxic and corrosive chemicals must be used. Common salt, for example, can be used to simulate chemicals such as ammonium nitrate. Water may be used instead of alcohol, etber, and otber highly flammable liquids. Molasses can ne used to represent petroleum products. When chemicals are simulated, they should be labelled with the names of the substance they represent preceded by the word "simulated." No project will be penalized because the key (but potentially dangerous) components were not on display.
- As low a voltage as possible must be used.
- A ground fault interrupter for electrical leaks and faults must be used. The Host Committee will ensure that such units are installed on the main electrical control panel serving the entire exhibit area.
- At the end of the day or the viewing period, all electrical exhibits must be disconnected, and power bars switched off.
- Only CSA-approved extension cords in good repair shall be used.
- Where practical and necessary, it is recommended that pilot lights be used to indicate that the voltage is on.
- Cord-connected electrical appliances should have a 3-wire conductor with ground or be CSA-approved.
- An insulating grommet is required at the point where the service enters any enclosure.
- Electrical devices must be protectively enclosed as far as it is practical.
- Any enclosure must be non-combustible. All non-current carrying metal parts must be grounded.
- No exposed live parts over 36 volts are allowed. Current (amperage) must be low so as not to cause any discomfort or danger if touched.
- Wet cells shall not be used because of the hazardous chemicals involved.
Structural and mechanical safety
Exhibits must be of a safe design with adequate stability to keep from tipping. Dangerous moving parts such as belts, gears, pulleys and propeller blades must be suitably guarded. Pressurized vessels should have a safety valve.
Compressed gas cylinders are not allowed.
Displays of x-rays or radiation-producing equipment
If an exhibit uses x-ray equipment or any other equipment capable of emitting high energy radiation, registration of ownership with the student's provincial government is required. Plans for structural protection must be submitted to the provincial government and approval requested, for which both the owner of the device and the owner of the building are responsible. A formally trained and qualified individual must be identified to exercise supervision of the operation and to take responsibility for safe performance. It will be an obligation of this individual to satisfy the Chief Inspector by exposure rate measurements or other suitable documentation that the operation is safe. Projects involving voltages above 10kV should be considered to pose a potential x-ray hazard.
Lasers and x-ray or radiation-producing equipment may not be operated during public viewing periods.
Mlcroorganism safety and bio-hazards
- The following hazardous biological materials may not be displayed at the CWSF:
- Radio-isotopes or compounds containing radio-isotopes at activities above normal background.
- Biological toxins (Any culture separated from its natural invironment must be considered a pathological bio-hazard.)
- Microorganisms. The use of mixed cultures obtained from the environment (e.g. soils, mouth swabs) is acceptable for experimentation, but not for display.
- Cells or tissues infected with animal or plant viruses.
- No cultures are allowed for exhibition. Photographs or simulated cultures may be used.
- Experimentation involving hazardous materials must be carried out under controlled laboratory conditions and supervision. The name and qualifications of the supervisor should be specified.
- Experimental manipulations of recombinant DNA molecules or animal viruses are prohibited.
- No plant tissue, soil or material which could decompose shall be exhibited at a CWSF.
Animal care General
Regulations pertaining to projects involving animals and the display of those projects reflect different standards. While student investigations of biological processes are to be encouraged, they are subject to the same laws, ethics, and regulations as any other research. In the Criminal Code of Canada, the Animals for Research Act of Ontario, and similar legislation in other provinces, all vertebrates are afforded protection. Also, schools and science-fairs are explicitly included in the definition of "research facility" in Ontario. The CWSF regulations described here are written in view of these laws.
The display of a project is further restricted by the YSF Canada in view of the need to maintain a positive public image towards science fairs. The restriction is due in part to a lack of essential expertise and experience on the part of the student investigators and their immediate supervisors. There is also a desire (on the part of the general public and research community) to maximize the efficiency of animal use and to impress this on the students, especially regarding scientific merit and value.
RSFs should adhere to the following regulations and take steps to ensure that schools within their region are thoroughly familiar with them and conform to them in school fairs. The regulations must certainly be adhered to for the CWSF, so it would be in the best interests of all concerned if the guidelines were followed faithfully from the outset.
Visiting projects from other countries should be informed of these regulations sufficiently before the fair so that they do not display projects contradictory to the Canadian regulations and milieu. Biological experimentation is subject to legal restrictions including, among others:
ï Criminal Code of Canada, Section 446, Cruelty to Animals;
ï Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species;
ï Canadian Wildlife Service;
ï Health of Animals Act, Bill C-66
ï Guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care;
ï Animals for Research Act (Ontario); and
ï Regulations for Housing, Care and Treatment of Animals Used for Biological & Medical Purposes (Alberta).
Any experiments involving human beings and other vertebrate animals should be passed through the YSF Canada Ethics Review Committee to ensure compliance with the above-mentioned regulations and restrictions. If necessary, the YSF Canada will refer the project to appropriate authorities cognisant of current regulations and relevant aspects regarding scientific merit, for guidance and suggestions for performing the work.
Lower orders of life (bacteria) fungi, protozoa, insects, plants and invertebrate animals) can be used in experimentation to reveal valuable biological information relevant to the higher orders.
Vertebrate animals (birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians) are not to be used in any active experiments which may in any way be deleterious to the health, comfort or physical integrity of the animals.
Observation of wild animals, animals in zoological parks, farm animals and pets is permitted. Observation of wild animals falls within the definition of hunting (or fishing) in some jurisdictions. Students should also obtain advice and permission from conservation authorities to ensure that they are not interfering with the animals' normal lifestyle and well-being, and to ensure that their project is permissible. A permit may be required.
For example, behavioral experiments with positive rewards are permissible only if the animal is not placed in a stress situation. Training an animal to travel through a maze to receive a food reward is stressful, particularly if the animal is hungry, and is therefore not permissible. However, allowing an animal to make a free choice (of food, for example) is permissible, as long as the animal is not stressed before offering the choice (e.g. by withholding food).
Studies of chick embryos are similarly restricted to observation, without intervention with drugs or other chemicals, or manipulation of physical conditions to test the resiliency of the animal. If eggs ate hatched, the chicks must be reared normally. Otherwise all embryos must be destroyed by freezing by the 18th day of incubation.
Cells and animal parts (including organs, tissues, plasma or serum) purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities may be used in science fair projects, but should not be displayed at the fair. Evidence of the source of the materials (e.g. bill of sale) must be available at the display.
The acquisition of animal parts should involve either the services of biological supply houses or research facilities, or involve salvage from other sources. Salvage from found carcasses (e.g. road kills) is discouraged due to serious health risks and other constraints.
If the acquisition involves salvage from a research project, where the animal has been killed for other legitimate purposes in a legal and humane manner, then the disposition to the science fair project must be part of the original research proposal, and such disposition must have been approved by the Research Committee or the Animal Care Committee of the institution involved. Reference to the original project should be made on the science project display.
If the acquisition involves salvage from the food industry, then the source must be acknowledged.
If the acquisition involves hunting, fishing or trapping, then those activities must be done in accordance with prevailing regulations, and precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of the student(s). The taking of animals other than for food, without explicit approval, can constitute cruelty. Permits for research are available from conservation authorities, and should be displayed at the project.
Research involving human beings must involve the principles of informed consent. No human tissues or fluids are to be exhibited in a science fair project due to the associated ethics and possible health hazards. A proposal for an "experiment" of any kind involving humans must be submitted through the YSF Canada Safety, Animal Care and Ethics Policy Committee for advice from competent authorities and to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and restrictions.
Display of animals & animal parts
Students working on biological projects may involve animals as outlined above. The display of the project is to be a report of completed work, and thus further restrictions are imposed. Also, science fair organizers should try to reduce the potential for adverse reaction from visitors and other exhibitors.
Live microorganisms and vertebrate or non-vertebrate animals shall not be included in the display, although appropriate photographs may be available in the report.
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. Soft tissue specimens are not acceptable if they are preserved in formaldehyde, a dangerous chemical excluded under the chemical safety section of these guidelines. Sealed tissue samples on microscope slides are permissible.
Thus, porcupine quills (safely contained), shed snake skin, feathers, tanned pelts and hides, antlers, hair samples, skeletons and skeletal parts are permissible, while organ and tissue samples are not. However, photos, videos or slides of organ and tissue samples may be available for viewing upon request, but may not be obviously displayed.
A science project should strive to have true scientific value and originality.
A YSF Canada Safety, Animal Care and Ethics Committee shall establish policy and shall review all projects for compliance in these areas of concern.
YSF Canada recognizes that some projects may have associated intellectual property which could be the basis for a patent application. No films, photographs or videos may be taken of any exhibits during the CWSF without the express written consent,