ALERT BULLETIN – Ice Resurfacer Magnetic Blade Change Safety Tool Failures
The introduction of magnetic safety tools for ice resurfacer blade changes have assisted significantly in reducing hand/blade contact risk and hazards. However, we continue to track safety related reports associated with ice resurfacer magnetic blade safety tool incidents. Reports are focused on connection failures that have resulted in hand and foot injuries. The following alert is recommended to be added to all workplace ice resurfacer blade change procedures as an awareness of the potential risks, hazards and proper use associated with magnetic ice resurfacer blade safety tools.
How a Magnet Works
Using a magnetic tool on an ice resurfacer blade has the magnet rubbed against the iron resulting in the north-seeking poles of the atoms in the iron lining up in the same direction. The force generated by the aligned atoms creates a magnetic field. The piece of iron has now become a magnet. The strength of these magnetic connections will be based on the primary magnetic and the cleanliness of the connection point. The iron contact point must be clean of dirt, rust or oil, or it will weaken the connection leading to the potential failure of the magnetic safety device. Magnetic safety tools can lose their magnetism if they are dropped or banged to bump their domains out of alignment.
Magnet Tool Safety
Magnetic safety tools such as a blade guard, or handheld magnetic devices require regular cleaning to ensure a positive contact is made. Other safe use recommendations include:
- Always wear proper foot and hand protection when using any magnetic ice resurfacer blade change safety tool.
- Iron connection points of any magnetic safety device should be thoroughly cleaned prior to use. Clean the magnet portion of the safety tool to ensure that no dirt is present, and a good connection will be made. Be reminded that dirt on the inside of a blade guard will reduce the sharpened edge of the blade reducing the number of cuts it can perform.
- Consider cutting the blade safety guard in half as having two (2) smaller pieces makes it easier for the operator to handle when placing the safety device on the blade.
- Immediately replace a damaged blade guard.
- As with all safety equipment, magnetic tools should be regularly replaced through a set life cycle plan.
You should review the ice resurfacer manufacturer or safety tool owners manual for your equipment. Also, the ORFA has a great resource called Blade Risks and Hazards Guideline you can review for further details.