When using biomagnetic separation systems, customers are always curious about how to comply with the various health and safety regulations that are in effect. When customers use small systems for a small scale magnetic separation process, there is very little risk from the magnets. The only risk would be if the technician has a pacemaker and in that case, they would be extremely careful around even the smallest system. There is also a small risk of pinching one’s fingers between two magnets.
In terms of risk other than health, even a small scale magnet can erase your computer’s magnetic hard drive, so computers need to be shielded and/or kept far from the device.
This post is about the safety risks of biomagnetic separation in the production of magnetic beads for IVD kits. If you want to know its most important elements, download our free ebook The basic guide to use biomagnetic separation in production processes:
Dangers and risks related to the magnetic separation process
When a customer uses biomagnetic separation systems for production, it implies that one is using a large system that can generate very strong magnetic fields. In this case, the system can cause real harm and so workers and technicians should be on much higher alert than with smaller systems. Typically two areas are defined for magnetic systems: the caution area and the danger area.
The danger area is defined as the area where the magnetic field is higher than 3mT (30 Gauss). In the danger area, there is considerable risk of injuries due to mechanical problems. Forces from the magnets are so large that they can easily attract steel objects or tools and magnets can attract each other strongly. It is not a rare occurrence for workers to suffer from broken bones or a loss of fingers when precautions are not followed strictly.
- The caution area is where the magnetic field is less than 3 mT, but more than 0.5 mT (5 Gauss). In this area, people with pacemakers are at risk and magnetic storage devices or electronic devices are at risk.
Standard biomagnetic separation systems are open systems that allow large stray fields measuring as caution or danger zones as defined above. Therefore, there is a need to designate a large area surrounding standard devices so that safety areas can be delineated, even if the area is a clean room.
Alternatively, newer technologies apply closed systems with a very low level of stray fields, therefore with much smaller danger and caution areas. These devices should be used in places where space and/or safety is an issue.
If you found this post about using biomagnetic separation for production useful, don't forget to check these related posts:
- Perfecting the magnetic separation process in magnetic bead IVD kit production
- Why bead losses increase when going to production
- Why separation time increases quicker than production volume