Safety Checklist


All projects are subject to inspection using the Toronto Science Fair Safety and Regulation Checklist. Serious infractions may result in the project being disqualified.


  • 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.

  • 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, ether, and other highly flammable liquids. Molasses can be used to represent petroleum products. When chemicals are simulated, they should be labeled 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • If an exhibit uses x-ray equipment or any other equipment capable of emitting high energy radiation, registration of ownership with the Ontario 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 10 kV should be considered to pose a potential x-ray hazard.

  • Lasers and x-ray or radiation-producing equipment may not be operated.

  • Radioisotopes or compounds containing radioisotopes at activities above normal background cannot be displayed.

Biological Materials

The following hazardous biological materials may not be displayed at the Toronto Science Fair:

  • Biological toxins.

  • 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.

Display of Animals and Animal Parts

  • The display of any biological project is to be a report of completed work. Live microorganisms and vertebrate or non-vertebrate animals shall not be included in the display, although appropriate photographs may be available in the report.

  • 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.