Magnattack™ Global Blog

Pacemakers and Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Separators are essential in food processing plants to extract foreign metal fragments from the process lines and reduce risks such as metal contamination, food recall, equipment damage, and brand name damage. 50 years experience in the food industry and continuous R&D has allowed us to develop safer and more efficient systems than ever before...but it is still critical for plant operators to look out for their personal safety when handling and cleaning magnetic separators. This week, we answer a frequently asked safety question...

Q: "I have a cardiac pacemaker...how close can I go to magnets?" 

A: Research has concluded that there is no known danger to operators occasionally cleaning or handling magnets with static magnetic field levels up to 20,000 gauss/2 Tesla. As magnetic separators designed for the food industry are usually between 9-12,000 gauss, it is considered safe for most people to handle and clean the systems. However, this is not the case for persons with heart pacemakers!

IMPORTANT: NO PERSON WITH A PACEMAKER SHOULD EVER HANDLE OR CLEAN MAGNETS!

Persons with cardiac pacemakers must not allow magnets within close proximity of their chest or be in an environment above .5mt (5 gauss).

As a general guide, persons with cardiac pacemakers should avoid coming closer than 12" or 300 mm from the working or field-throwing face of magnetic systems such as small plate magnets, grate magnets, probe magnets, magnet bars, and so on. Please refer relevant authorities for more comprehensive information on this topic or contact us for further assistance.

Larger magnetic separation systems such as suspension magnets, magnetic drums, pulleys, overband, and crossbelt magnets, may require the minimum distance to be up to 2 meters. When in doubt, a gauss chart should be undertaken.

Please visit our Safety In Handling Magnets page for more information on how to stay safe around magnetic separators.

Watch video: 7 ways to help you stay safe around magnets!

Please note, that this information is not intended to provide comprehensive safety instructions, but to provide general safety guidelines in the interests of our valued customers. We specifically remind you that it is your responsibility to undertake risk assessments, review the SOP in the light of the risk assessments, make any modifications to reflect how the equipment is used at your workplace, and then adequately train those people who are going to use the machine. You must consult the appropriate authorities as to the proper use of magnets and you must consult health professionals for advice regarding heart pacemakers.

Want to know more? Have another question about magnetic separation? Contact us here or leave a comment below!

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