A firefighter whose hand was amputated after he was injured by faulty cutting gear has received £1.5m in damages. He was working with hydraulic cutting equipment on a training exercise when his hand was pierced by a high-pressure jet of hydraulic fluid. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-48599963.
It was only later that day he noticed his hand starting to swell and he began to feel a burning sensation. There was a small puncture wound through the side of his hand. He noted that one of his colleagues looked at the glove he had been wearing at the time and there was a hole straight through it.
He subsequently had 40 operations after the hydraulic fluid destroyed the tissue in his right hand, but after a four-year battle doctors were forced to amputate.
What went wrong?
The hose pipe connecting the hydraulic pump (which worked at up to 850 bar of pressure) to the cutting gear was riddled with tiny punctures which can appear over time after the hose has been dragged over broken glass or metal shards at the scene of an incident. One of these punctures caused a fine jet of hydraulic fluid to escape and pierce the leather safety gloves worn by the injured person.
This incident has been circulated as part of a safety flash as nearly all IMCA members use hydraulic equipment, and incidents of this sort have been seen amongst our members.