UC Davis NMR Safety Information

Safety Overview

The major hazards in the NMR facility are the strong magnetic fields around the magnets and the use of liquid cryogens – liquid nitrogen and liquid helium.  Chemical hazards are minimized by the use of small samples in sealed tubes.  All samples must be prepared outside of the NMR facility in the research lab and must be properly sealed before entering the facility.  There are no areas in the NMR facility appropriate for sample prep.

Magnetic field (Gauss) are marked and blocked around the magnet, showing the areas where magnetic materials are not permitted.  It’s extremely important to pay close attention to the Gauss lines and to remove any magnetic materials from your person before accessing the magnet.

Proper laboratory attire is required in the NMR facility.  Long pants (covered legs) and proper footwear (covered feet) is the minimum attire required to access the NMR facility.  Because samples are sealed, PPE – gloves, goggles, and lab coats are not required.

When refilling dewars or otherwise working with cryogens, safety goggles, lab coat and cryo gloves are required.  If there is a risk of a splash, a face shield may be required.  Check with NMR facility staff if you are unsure.

Magnetic Field Safety:

Extremely high magnetic field strengths found in the NMR Facility can generate large attractive forces on magnetic objects.  Every facility user must take the mandatory Magnetic Field Safety Training. To obtain magnetic field safety training, please follow the steps outlined here.


Users who wish to store small quantities of chemicals in the NMR Facility may do so. NMR Facility personnel must be notified when chemicals are brought in and presented with a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for filing in the NMR Facility MSDS Notebook. The NMR Facility reserves the right to deny storage space if NMR Facility personnel deem the chemical unsafe for the storage capabilities of the facility. Large quantities of chemicals will not be allowed. Failure to present MSD Sheets is also grounds for denying storage space.

Chemical disposal - Please dispose of chemicals in your own laboratory.

Biohazardous Materials:

Containers for sharps (needles, broken glass, etc.) are provided by the NMR Facility - PLEASE USE THEM! The NMR Facility will dispose of the sharps. Other biomaterials will be cleaned up by the individual user and disposed of properly . Users who are doing experiments which generate biowaste are expected to know and follow all EH&S regulations. Failure to clean up biowaste may result in denial of access to the NMR Facility.

Animal Use in the NMR Facility:

Users who bring animals into the facility must have a current approved animal use protocol from the Animal Use and Care Administrative Advisory Committee (AUCAAC). The animal surgery area is in room 18C. Please limit surgical procedures to the countertop area so designated. Anyone who fails to clean the area properly, including immediate cleaning of any blood spills and proper disposition of animal carcasses, will be reported to the campus veterinarian.

Radioactive Materials Policy:

Experiments involving radioactive sources/samples must first be cleared with NMR Facility. A copy of the Radiation Use Authorization (RUA) must be presented to NMR Facility Safety Coordinator, Jeff Walton, for inclusion in NMR Facility records. The RUA must have the locations where the radioactive sources/samples will be used in the NMR Facility. Doors to rooms where radiation will be used must be closed while sources are present and signage put up. All sources must be removed from the NMR facility at the end of the run. Researchers operating under the RUA must follow all of the relevant protocols in the RUA pertaining to experimental procedure and monitoring for radioactive exposure and contamination during and after each run. The RUA protocols must explicitly recognize the existence of magnetic fields and state that all equipment including monitoring equipment is nonmagnetic, and thus consistent with safety rules for working in magnetic fields. Alternatively, The RUA may state how the protocols are modified to be consistent with NMR Facility rules for safely working in magnetic fields.

Space Allocation Policy:

I. NMR Facility space is allocated to meet the needs of Facility instrumentation, including spectrometers, workstations and maintenance equipment, and the Facility staff in order to serve the campus community effectively.

II. The overall policy for allocation of space at the Facility is the responsibility of the Director, with the advice of the Advisory Board. Specific decisions are the responsibility of the Director or the staff member to whom the Director delegates authority.

III. Priorities for the allocation of space are assigned as follows:

a. Highest priority is assigned to spectrometers, workstations and the equipment necessary for their support.

b. Office space is allocated to the Facility staff.

c. Separate work areas are allocated for support functions, such as the electronics and machine shop areas.

d. To the extent possible, appropriate space is allocated for sample preparation (including the fume hood in room 18C) and surgical procedures (currently, room 19A), and other essential needs of the users.

e. Additional space within the Facility may be allocated temporarily to individual users to the extent that the use of such space does not interfere with the activities and space allocations described above. These temporary allocations are expected to include drawer, cabinet and floor space for storage of heavy or immobile equipment necessary for an individual user's experiments performed at the Facility. Space is not provided for the storage of routine samples or supplies or to house animals. Requests for temporary allocations of space should be made to the Director, through the Facility staff.

Specific Safety Documentation

Please find the safety documentation currently in use at the UC Davis NMR Facility. Please use at your own discretion.

Safety Documents

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

The SOP for a variety of hazards encountered at the NMR Facility are available for download by clicking on the links below.