An expensive MRI machine at Virginia Mason Medical Center sustained at least $200,000 in damage when a metal floor buffer was mistakenly placed nearby and was sucked in by the machine’s powerful magnets, a television station reports.

The accident happened Jan. 3 when a member of the housekeeping staff improperly took the buffer near the machine, despite a warning sign not to use metal objects near it, KIRO-TV reported Monday night.

Virginia Mason spokesmen did not respond to repeated Associated Press phone messages for comment left Monday night with hospital switchboard operators.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines are sophisticated diagnostic tools used to provide detailed pictures of the body’s interior.

The magnets used are so powerful it is not uncommon to hear of large pieces of equipment being pulled into the machines.

Several hospital employees worked on removing the buffer. According to a hospital incident report cited by KIRO, one worker lost an earring and another had his hearings aids destroyed.

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