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     Throughout my hydraulic equipment related experience I've heard of and, unfortunately, witnessed quite a few accidents. But there's one type of an accident that spooks me the most and sends shivers down my spine - pressurized fluid injection. This type of injury is not common, and that is why many people (medical personnel included) don't make a big deal out of it, as apparently it looks like an insignificant skin puncture for the first couple of hours... but  the truth is that this type of injury is a HUGE DEAL and it can easily become lethal! The oil cuts through the flesh poisoning and eating-out every bit of tissue it comes in contact with. Every extra minute of delay is one step towards amputation - it is THAT serious!

     Thank God I've never witnessed such an accident and I hope I never will, but I know people who aren't that lucky. Just last fall I was attending a short training seminar, and I noticed one of the guys was missing a couple of fingers on his left hand. Later he told me that a pressurized metal pipe burst right under his hand as he was holding on to it (the reason for the pressure surge was dead stupid - incorrectly mounted (the other way round) ball valve lever in a closed loop line, powered by a Sauer series 20, a well known veteran not spoiled by incorporated pressure relief valves), injecting a monster amount of hydraulic oil in the palm of his hand. The only reason that he didn't loose the whole hand was him not letting the doctors chop it off - which was a bold but lucky move from his side. And there are many other stories...

     I, like any other "hands on" hydraulics technician, have seen myself more than once literally squeezed in most unthinkable and unreachable parts of hydraulic machinery, with all sorts of oil conducting hoses wrapped around me like spider web around a dead fly - which is the "dirty" part of the job, and I am guessing that telling mechanics to stop putting their hands over pressurized hoses is just like telling motorcycle riders not to go "full throttle" over white lines of zebra crossings - they already know it is dangerous and them lines are slippery, and yet they will do it over and over, catching the nasty feeling of the back wheel going sideways, and forgetting all about it the very moment the bike leaves the crossing, unless, of course, the slip turns into a side slide... (off topic again, but colorful...).

    Anyhow, I've been around high pressurized oil long enough to know that it's dangerous, but I never realized it was THAT DEADLY till I saw a couple of shots of fluid injected limbs and read a couple of accident descriptions. It's since that moment that I stopped putting my hands over pressurized hoses and stuff (that often...). And this is why I want to pass it on for those, who haven't seen it yet. 

    Take a look at the following "materials", but beware - the content is highly graphic! On the other hand - oil hydraulics is not for the weak-stomached, so I guess it's OK, at least for the IH readers....

    Hydraulic Mineral Oil Injection
    Hydraulic Safety - courtesy of Fluid Power Safety Institute
    High Pressure Injection Injury
    Paint Injection

   BE SAFE!!!