Safety Considerations

It is the responsibility of the student and his/her sponsor to carefully monitor all steps of the project for safety and proper safety practices. The Safety Checklist will be completed in the online registration process and uploaded into the student’s account by the deadline.  Using the Safety Checklist, inspection of the project is completed on the day of the Fair by the Safety Committee before judging is permitted.

If you have any questions about the Safety Checklist or Safety Restrictions, contact the Safety Chairperson, Shawn Johnston, at


General Safety Practices

  1. Personal Protective Equipment MUST be used as needed:
    • Safety goggles or glasses with side shields or a full face shield.
    • Lab coats, aprons, or shirts with long sleeves should be worn by students who are performing demonstrations.
    • Appropriate glove protection for potential hazards such as cryogenic liquids, dry ice, extreme heat or cold, and electrical current.
  2. Students and sponsors should familiarize themselves with the availability and use of the MSDS/SDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). These sheets can be easily obtained from any Chemical Supplier or online at
  3. No food, drink, sampling, or tasting is allowed in any of the display areas. A violation of this directive may lead to disqualification of your project.
  4. Projects must not be left unattended until students are dismissed by the judges. Room Monitors may be present in the display rooms for assistance only and are not responsible for projects and materials.
  5. All projects must be inspected, approved, and stamped by members of the Safety Committee before judging begins. The submitted Safety Checklist will be reviewed and used to inspect your project at the Fair.
  6. The Safety Committee reserves the right to disable, modify, remove, or disqualify any project that, in the opinion of the committee, poses a potential safety hazard to either the students, judges, or the viewing public.


  1. All students must wear the appropriate safety equipment as needed.
  2. Open flame sources are not permitted.
  3. Chemical reactions should not result in the formation of noxious fumes or odors.
  4. Only electrical heating via a hot plate or heating mantle is allowed.
  5. All containers with solids, liquids, or solutions must be non-breakable, capped, and sealed. Each container must be labeled with the name, concentration, and formula of its contents and include precautionary labels.
  6. If using a vacuum pump system, all connections must be made of material specifically designed for vacuum pressure and carry the label “for vacuum use.” All containers must be covered with a fiberglass strapping material applied down the sides of the container to guard against implosion. No Boiling flask, Erlenmeyer, or Florence flasks may be used. Only a certified vacuum flask may be used.
  7. No explosive or potentially explosive materials are to be used or displayed at the Fair.
  8. There will be no sampling, tasting, eating, or drinking by any demonstrator, judge, or the general public in the display areas.

Biology and Behavioral Science

  1. All entries which use humans, animals, mold, fungi, bacteria, or viruses must complete the WNYRSEF Biological Projects Form which details the uses of living organisms, animals, or humans in your experiment.
  2. Rather than bringing animals to the Fair, consider alternate methods of showing the role of animal(s) in your project by using computer simulation, photos, etc. If live specimens are brought to the Fair, proper housing, good hygiene, and proper food and fluids must be provided by the student.
  3. In projects involving molds, fungi or bacteria, or virus cultures, use photographs.
    DO NOT bring or display the following:

    • pathogenic molds, fungi, bacteria, viruses or carcinogenic cultures or agents
    • any type of hypodermic syringe or needles (Note: Plastic syringe cases may be used as part of hydraulic systems and will be accepted when used for that purpose)
    • controlled substances or drugs regulated by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Control Act of 1970
    • any venomous animal or poisonous plants

Physical and Electrical

  1. Only 110-120 volt/60 cycle AC outlets are available for use in project areas. The electric outlets are three-prong, grounded services. Students must bring their own UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approved and properly shielded electrical cords and electrical equipment. Electrical cords must be in good condition and without repairs or use of electrical or duct tape. all electrical plugs on extension or lead cords must be grounded and polarized.
  2. All battery powered (DC) units must also be properly wired and protected for possible shock hazard.
  3. High voltage sources, such as Telsa coils, etc., must be enclosed in a safe protective environment to prevent possible injury. Adequate warning signs (i.e. CAUTION, HAZARD, HIGH VOLTAGE) must be clearly visible from all directions of the project. Displays can only be activated while being judged.  Afterwards it must be deactivated.
  4. The use of cryogenic solids or liquids, such as nitrogen or dry ice requires special handling and personal protective equipment. (See “Safety Checklist” pg 1) The use of a Dewar container is required. Thermos bottles are not Dewar flasks and are not to be used for storing liquid nitrogen! Spill trays for working with cryogenic materials must be provided and used.
  5. Use of LASERS or LASER pointers for projects must be reported to the Safety Committee. (See “Safety Checklist” pg 2). All LASER pointers must be kept in the possession of the student’s supervising adult before and after the presentation. LASERS must be firmly secured. LASER beam blockers and shutters must be arranged so the LASER light does not enter the eyes of the demonstrator or any other person.
  6. Firm supports and proper shields are required for all projects involving the use of infrared (IR) lamps or long wave ultraviolet (i.e. 366 nm) lamps.