Insane Hydraulics

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High Pressure Fluid Injections

Being constantly close to industrial environment, I've heard of and, unfortunately, witnessed quite a few accidents. But there's one type of accident that spooks me the most - the 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, especially when you consider the fact that for the first couple of hours it looks like an insignificant skin puncture... but the truth is - this type of injury is a HUGE DEAL and it can easily become lethal if you wait for too long! The oil cuts through the flesh, poisoning and eating-out every bit of tissue it comes in contact with, and every minute of delay is a 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 in our group was missing a couple of fingers on his left hand. Later he told me a story of how an over-pressurized metal pipe burst as he was holding on to it, injecting a monster amount of hydraulic oil in the palm of his hand. The reason for the pressure surge was a closed ball valve, installed in the main line of a Sauer series 20 closed loop pump - a veteran unit unspoiled by built-in pressure relief valves. The only reason why he didn't loose the whole hand was him not letting the doctors chop it off - a bold but lucky move from his side.

I have seen myself more than once squeezed in most "unsqueezable" gaps of hydraulic installations, with all sorts of high, medium and low pressure hoses wrapped around me like spider web around a dead fly, and I guess telling mechanics to stop putting their hands on pressurized hoses is like telling motorcycle riders to avoid white lines of zebra crossings - they all know the lines are slippery, and yet they will do it over and over...

Be it as it may, I've been around high pressure 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 reports. And this is why I want to pass it on.

Beware - the content below 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