Danger of hydraulic Oil
Did you know that a pinhole leak in your hydraulic hose
can release hydraulic fluid with enough pressure to
penetrate both clothing and skin?
Employees can become complacent around hydraulic systems and that is when
mistakes are made, maintenance is neglected and injuries occur. While most
common injuries may be just a result of slip and fall, three more serious dangers
exist: burns from hot hydraulic fluid spray, injuries sustained from falling or
whipping hydraulic lines and injection of hydraulic fluid into the skin.
A hydraulic fluid injection is perhaps the most dangerous injury that can result
from a hydraulic hose failure. One reason is that it can appear benign at the
beginning so it often gets dismissed as not urgent and medical care is postponed.
Another reason is that injected hydraulic oils are highly toxic - so in addition to a
physical cut or stab, they literally poison you.
The most important things to remember: NEVER touch a pressurized hose with
your hand and if you suspect an injection injury has occurred, get to an emergency
room right away!
Take a materials safety data sheet (MSDS) of the injected liquid with you to the
emergency room. Inform the medical staff that you have suffered hydraulic oil
injection injury when you arrive. Have someone find out as much as possible about
the hydraulic system pressure and estimated velocity of the pinhole leak that
caused the injury and report the findings to the medical staff.
The longer the period of time before treatment, the more risk you are taking on.
At first, injections may feel like a bee sting or wire prick and the entry area may
look like just a pin prick. Do not let this fool you. The size of the entry wound is a
poor indicator of the seriousness of the injury. What looks like a simple puncture
wound is in fact life threatening. The area around the injury typically turns red and
swells within a couple of hours. Throbbing and numbness follow. If left untreated,
the injury can lead to amputation and even death.
STAMP Hose for Safety
Never touch a pressurized hydraulic hose assembly with
any part of your body. If you suspect a leak, use a piece
of cardboard, wood or sheet metal to locate it. Also check
fittings; if they're damaged, they can also result in a
failure and injury.
• Some conditions to watch out for - and to avoid if you
are installing replacement hose assemblies:
• Hoses rubbing against each other or against other
parts - causes abrasion, leading to hose failure.
• Hose maximum working pressure rating above the
system maximum pressure rating - including pressure
• Correctly fabricated hose assemblies - hoses must be
compatible with hose ends used and hoses must be
inserted all the way into the fittings prior to crimping.
Only well trained personnel or reputable supplier
should be trusted with hose assembly fabrication.
• Hose bend radius too tight - refer to manufacturer's
• Hose bend beginning at the fitting
• Twisted hoses
• Always STAMP the hose and fitting don’t guess! The
hose I.D. must be sized accurately to obtain the
proper flow velocity. A flow that’s too slow results in
sluggish system performance and a flow that’s too
high causes excessive pressure drops, system damage,