Safety instructions when working in the NMR area

Emergency: in an emergency call Reception (7)66001 or the Facility Manager (7)66149.

Location: The rooms 00.3 and 00.4 (Sanger building) contain nuclear magnetic resonance equipment, which uses high magnetic field technology. The magnets are always switched on. Access to these rooms without prior training or in the absence of trained personnel is not permitted. Please contact the facility staff if you need training or have questions.

Accessing the NMR area: Should an acoustic alarm be on, the oxygen level in one of the NMR rooms is low! Exit the NMR area immediately and report this at once to reception and facility staff.

Work outside hours: Trained users can access the facility but must sign in and out in the log-book for work done after 6pm, on weekends or during holidays. The sign-in/out log-book is located outside reception. The fire brigade will use this log-book to assess the situation when called outside working hours. Outside hours you must sign in and remember to sign out when finished.

Here are the main risks, how you can prevent accidents from happening and what you should do in case of a problem:

Risk 1: Persistent strong magnetic fields (the magnets are always on):

  • can turn metal objects into projectiles
  • can affect medical implants i.e. pacemakers, prosthetics and lead to malfunction
  • can erase data storage media

Your action: Keep metal objects safely outside the 5 Gauss area, indicated by the yellow chains. The same applies to your credit cards and watch. The computer desks are located in a safe distance to the magnet. If unsure ask for advice.

Risk 2: Unlikely, but possible risk of a sudden quench where large volumes of helium gas evaporate in a short amount of time:

  • danger of asphyxiation

Your action: A spontaneous quench is clearly recognizable by the formation of a vapour cloud. Exit the NMR room immediately and follow the green emergency Exit signs to the nearest exit. Importantly, a quench may have happened before you enter the NMR room. While the vapour cloud will be gone, oxygen levels could still be depleted and you would enter a room with a reduced oxygen level. All rooms are fitted with oxygen depletion monitors, which in this situation will give a very loud acoustic alarm in the corridor area. In case of this alarm, do NOT enter any of the NMR rooms. Instead, exit the NMR area and call reception (7) 66001 or the Facility Manager (7)66149.