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Working with Magnets


These pages are concerned with static magnets – i.e. those that emit a magnetic field of their own, as opposed to electromagnets which require electricity to produce a field.

Most magnet systems at the University are uncontrolled (they do not require specific health and safety protocols to be followed) because the fields they produce are inaccessible or are of a low strength.

Controlled magnet systems

Controlled magnets are systems which have an accessible magnetic field strength above 0.5mT (or 5 Gauss). You will need to follow our guidelines and procedures when using these in order to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Key things you need to know about working with controlled magnets:

  • Controlled magnet systems are subject to controls and operational procedures: people wishing to use them should have an induction and be aware of the risks and procedures involved in working with them.

  • Controlled magnet systems are powerful enough to attract any strongly magnetic materials and may interfere with certain electrical devices such as pacemakers or magnetic-based data storage such as flash drives, USBs and credit cards.

  • Estates workers will need to receive an induction from the supervisor of the laboratory they will be working in and will also need to be accompanied by a member of facility staff throughout the work.

  • Some facilities that contain magnet systems are restricted access (see Authorisation Access protocol for more information on restricted access areas).

    Contact the Radiation Protection Service if you need more guidance or advice.