• Ben Nordman

Lift Magnet Safety: The 3 regulations you need to know

Often times when discussing lift magnet safety the conversation drifts towards having "OSHA certified lift magnets." While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates safety violations, they delegate lifting device safety mostly to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), specifically the B30.20 and the BTH-1 standard.


Most lift magnet manufacturers are aware and compliant to these standards and assist purchasers with staying within the regulations. Although, there are a few regulations that lift magnet owners should be aware of.


The following three aspects of ASME's B30.20 standards, along with keeping marking, such as name plates, visible and legible at all times, are the most commonplace issues owners find while staying within regulations. While important, there are many other stipulations that apply to lifting devices and we encourage you to purchase ASME's full standards here to read more about them.


INSPECTIONS

MAINTENANCE

TESTING

 
Power-Grip LB-7G and LB-10G battery-operated lift magnets
Power-Grip LB-7G and LB-10G battery-operated lift magnets


INSPECTIONS


To start, inspections are highly important to staying within the standard set forth by ASME. These are the most regular violations of the standard along with providing records of these inspections.


There are three different types of inspections that should be performed to lift magnets, every lift, frequent, and periodic.


 

Every lift


The operator of the lift magnet should be performing these prior to each lift that they perform with the magnet.


ASME lists the following as “every lift inspections”


  1. lifting magnet face and surface of the load for foreign materials and smoothness

  2. condition and operation of the control handle of a manually controlled permanent magnet

  3. condition and operation of indicators and meters when installed


Doing the above will both keep the operator safe as well as give the operator a better understanding of possible maintenance that is needed.



 

Frequent



These inspections are visual inspections again that do not require any records of being done. The following should be the scheduling of these inspections based on usage.


  1. Normal service - monthly

  2. Heavy service - weekly to monthly

  3. Severe service - daily to weekly

  4. Special or infrequent service - as recommended by a qualified person before and after each lift


Such things as looking for wear or corrosion to any aspect of the magnet, electrical connections being properly connected, inspecting weldments and bolts, and more are required on the above schedule.


 

Periodic



These inspections are also done on a scheduled basis in relation to their use and include some of the previous frequent inspections.


It would be best practice for these to be done by a qualified individual and need to be documented. Any missing or damaged parts of the lift magnet should be replaced before it is put back into service.


The periodic maintenance schedule should be as follows:


  1. Normal service for equipment in place — yearly

  2. Heavy service for equipment in place — quarterly

  3. Severe service — monthly

  4. Special or infrequent service — as recommended by a qualified person before the first lift and as directed by the qualified person for any subsequent lifts


All components should be inspected to find potential breakdowns in quality during these periodic inspections.


Constant inspections should be performed on all lift magnets. Many lift magnets are designed to withstand decades of wear and tear, but at a certain point, components break down and cause a large safety hazard.


 

Lift magnet spare parts
Any maintenance should be done by a qualified individual and at the direction of the manufacturer

MAINTENANCE


Maintenance is also another important process that needs to be followed. As a lift magnet manufacturer, we often times find that owners of our lift magnets do their own maintenance on their magnets. If done incorrectly, safety issues can arise as well as violating the standard for lifting devices.


Each lift magnet fleet should have a developed maintenance program that is based on recommendations from the manufacturer. This could include yearly inspections from the manufacturer, to certifications, to a program designed by the manufacturer.


Ultimately, this is up to the owner of the lift magnet to design this program, but with the help of the manufacturer, the program development can be that much easier.


Additionally, any and all maintenance should be done in the following manner:


  1. Before adjustment and repairs are started on a lifting magnet or its controls, the following precautions shall be taken:

  2. All sources of lifting magnet power shall be disconnected, locked out, and tagged “Out of Service.”

  3. A lifting magnet removed for repair shall be tagged “Out of Service.”

  4. Relieve fluid pressure from all circuits before loosening or removing fluid power components.

  5. Only designated personnel shall work on equipment when adjustments, repairs, and tests are required.

  6. Replacement parts shall be at least equal to the original manufacturer’s specifications.

  7. After adjustments and repairs have been made, the lifting magnet shall not be returned to service until it has been inspected according to the Periodic Inspection list.

  8. Dated records of repairs and replacements should be made.


 

At ObsidianMFG, we certify all lift magnet brands to the specification of ASME B30.20.
At ObsidianMFG, we certify all lift magnet brands to the specification of ASME B30.20.

TESTING


All new, reinstalled, or altered lift magnets need to have testing done to ensure that listed information marked on the magnet is accurate before it is put into service.


Typically, the load test is completed to these magnets to find the actual breakaway force of the magnet. This involves a stress test that finds the force needed to vertically break the magnet away from the piece of material. This is safely done with a stand that is designed for this test. At Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc., we have one of these stands to do safe testing for you.


Additionally, an annual design factor test should be conducted. This test must be done at or above the actual breakaway point of the magnet and allows each part of the magnet to be tested to ensure that it works properly to lift that much weight. If a part cannot work at that point, it needs to be removed and replaced.


Each test should simulate actual conditions of use for the magnet.


At Obsidian Manufacturing, we can perform these tests for you and provide documentation. They also go into our annual certifications of lift magnets.


 

This blog is to serve as a starting point for lift magnet owners to maintain the standard for lifting device safety, set by ASME B30.20-2018. The next revisions for the regulations are set to be released in 2023, this blog will not be up to date based on those revisions when released.


These regulations above fall under the Close Proximity Operated Lifting Magnets standards, which are the standard that MagnaLift & Power-Grip lift magnets fall under. Always reference ASME B30.20-2018 for lifting device safety questions or give us a call at 815-962-8700.


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