Fatal Facts - Hydraulic Pressure and
There are four fatal
conditions that high pressure hydraulic can create.
1. Injection Injuries
2. Dangerous properties of
3. Contact with hot fluid
4. Other material movement
(explosion, whipping hose, etc.)
What is a
high pressure Injection Injury?
High pressurized fluid can
be released from a very small opening. It punctures and penetrates the skin and
body tissue. A pinhole leak in a hydraulic hose that’s under pressure can
release toxic fluid at a speed of 600 feet per second. Injected substance
passes rapidly thru the subcutaneous tissue and enters the tendons and deep
spaces of hand/body. Penetration recorded in distances of up to four inches
between fluid source and skin.
To describe how much
hydraulic pressure can be dangers, we presented an injection injury incident
provided by Shell.
Hydraulic Injection caused a
pinprick intrusion to the injured person’s hand.
Hydraulic fluid in use was a mineral
Pressure of fluid was 630 Bar (approx 9,150 PSI)
Equipment in use: scissor
cutters used at road traffic accidents to release occupants.
Location of accident: fire service
Risk assessments were in place
and full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was worn.
Training session under
controlled conditions within Brigade Training Premises
Injured person was to cut
through sample vehicle using scissors.
Normal practise at time was for
the hydraulic hose to be run over operators shoulder to tool in use.
Hose ruptured at ferrule area
resulting in release of fluid through PPE (Leather gauntlets) to injured
What Happened Next
Injured person went to Accident &
Emergency (A&E) and initial prognosis was “keep clean and rest”.
By chance a specialist observed
Mineral Oil had already started
to “eat away” fatty tissues in hand and began travelling through the hand and
up the arm.
Injured person had 5 operations
to cut away oil deposits and was on his last chance before losing arm. It was
Wound could not be sutured due
to tissue damage by oil so wound was gradually closed over weeks.
Injured person was eventually
medically discharged from force and is severely disabled in this hand.
Injured person awaits final
Timescale: 2 years and counting
How to Avoid
Don’t “crack” high pressure connectors or lines to
“check” for pressure and/or flow
To check a hose for leaks while pressurized, run a
piece of cardboard or paper along the hose, wear gloves, long sleeves, and
Shut down all equipment when looking for leaks
Relieve pressures (Hose, etc.)
Check to ensure pressure relieved
Deactivation the source of power to zero energy
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