Magnet Safety

Simon Fraser University has a comprehensive Radiation Safety Program (RSP) which includes Ionizing (IR) and Non-ionizing Radiation (NIR). The use of magnetic instrumentation falls under the NIR RSP which primary objective is to facilitate and ensure safe use of magnetic devices in research, teaching and the environment.

For more information, contact: Program Manager, Ionizing Radiation, Radiation Safety Officer: ph. 778-782-3633

Magnet Safety Program

The Magnet Safety Program ensures the safety of the SFU community through effective control of hazards produced by strong magnetic fields. Key elements of the Magnet Safety Program are: responsibilities, inspections, signage, and record keeping.

Responsibilities

Supervisors and principal investigators are responsible for ensuring that all personnel are trained to safely perform their assigned tasks and that protective control measures are in place and maintained. Non-user staff such as administrators and custodians should also be trained not to enter the magnet room. Supervisors are responsible to ensure that work in the vicinity of high magnetic fields conducted by facilities personnel and contractors will be carried out appropriately and safely. All contract work should be reviewed for safety concerns prior to scheduling any work.

Inspections

How to prepare for inspections:

Magnet Safety inspections are required to ensure safe operation of the device and compliance with SFU’s Magnet Safety program and all applicable regulations and guidelines. Internal inspections are conducted by EHS Radiation Safety on a regular basis. Researchers can prepare for the inspection by examining their laboratory, using the magnet safety self-inspection list.

Signage   

All signage and magnetic field markings must be approved by SFU EHS. Review information on magnet safety signage.
In addition, labs containing magnet instrumentation must be equipped with the following Hazard Warning Signs:

  • A Warning Sign and  Danger Sign are required to be posted at all access points to areas where the magnetic field exceeds limits as specified here.
  • A Caution Sign and Strong Magnet Danger Sign are required to be posted at all access points to areas where the magnetic field strength could exceed 0.5 mT (5 G) and/or areas where 60 Hz electric fields exceed 1 kV/m, warning individuals with pacemakers or other medical implants to keep out.
  • Some electromagnets may require an illuminated warning light that turns on when the magnet is energized. Magnets which create strong, static fields are typically de-energized when personnel exposure could occur (i.e. during lengthy downtimes associated with accelerator operations).
  • Areas where potential mechanical hazards exist, such as storage areas of ferromagnetic tools/materials, must be conspicuously demarcated with a Caution Sign.

The magnetic field must be appropriately demarcated in the following instances:

  • A 5 G line must be clearly demarcated using either a temporary physical barrier (e.g. rope) or permanent floor marking.
  • Areas where whole body exposures to 6o Hz fields exceed 25 kV/m or 1 mT (10 G) must be limited by positive means such as locked enclosures, interlocks, or safety chains.
  • Areas where magnetic fields exceed 3 mT must be surveyed to determine where potential mechanical hazards exist. People with metallic implants must be kept out of areas where field strengths exceed 3 mT (30 G).

Record keeping

Researchers, users in general, are responsible for maintaining: 

  • User logs
  • Maintenance and Survey logs
  • Records of user training, which must be maintained by the Principle Investigator (PI) and be made available during inspections