Tuesday, June 10, 2014

For Utility Fleet Off-site Blog: Safety With Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic systems are tremendously useful on a wide variety of equipment and vehicles, including bucket trucks and digger derricks, since they are able to facilitate the accomplishment of a great deal of heavy lifting and load-bearing work. It's crucial, though, if you regularly service or spend a great deal of time around machinery that makes use of hydraulics, that you learn proper safety protocol to avoid serious injury. 

Contents Under Pressure

Hydraulic systems are so powerful and effective because their contents, the hydraulic fluid, is under a tremendous amount of pressure, often 2,000 pounds per square inch, or even higher. In addition, the fluid is extremely hot. When a hydraulic system sustains damage, is improperly put together, or develops problems due to wear and tear, the potential for severe injury can be significant. Injuries can also occur when you neglect to release the pressure before performing repairs or making adjustments to the system.

Pinhole Leaks 

People can be seriously injured from mishaps with hydraulic systems, including burns that result when hydraulic fluid sprays on them or when hydraulic hoses fall or come loose. One of the most common ways people sustain dire injuries from hydraulic systems comes in the form of pinhole leaks in hoses. An injection injury is one of the most worrisome types of injury because often the person does not realize how badly he has truly been hurt. The injection site often looks no worse than a pinhole, but the reality of the situation is that when the hot, toxic fluid is injected into the body, it wreaks havoc in the system, and unless the person goes immediately to the emergency room, he risks severe damage and infection that could result in limb amputation or death.  

Safety Procedures and Proactive Maintenance 

 The best way to prevent injury from working with hydraulic systems is to pay close attention to safety procedures and always practice proactive maintenance. To avoid injection injuries from pinhole leaks, never touch a pressurized hose for any reason whatsoever. Having your hands or any part of your body near a pressurized hose that has a pinhole leak could be a recipe for disaster. Regular maintenance schedules should always include periodic replacement of all hose assemblies and close inspection of hydraulic systems to check for signs of wear and damage. Consistency and care are the keys to safety with hydraulic systems. By following sensible safety procedures as well as a regular schedule for hose replacement and system maintenance, and taking extra care with hose selection and choosing the proper fittings, you will be able to keep your hydraulic systems functioning efficiently and safely.

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