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Hand injury: Injection of hydraulic fluid

IMCA has received information about a hand injury caused by leaking pressurised hydraulic fluid on a drilling rig. A person was searching for the source of a small hydraulic leak. The leak was located and a request made for the hydraulic pump to be shut down so that the damaged hose could be replaced. The pump was duly shut down. Then the person involved placed his index finger (whilst wearing double gloves) over the damaged spot on the hose so as not to lose the location of the leak.

The person involved was unaware that hydraulic pressure remained on the system following shut down of the pump and that this pressure had actually increased for around two seconds after the pump shut down (owing to back pressure). Hydraulic fluid burst through the damaged spot on the hose and was injected through the double gloves into the person’s index finger. Surgery was required to find and remove the injected oil from the finger and hand of the person.

This incident serves as a timely reminder to maintain vigilance and awareness of the very serious potential hazards and risks associated with working with pressurised hydraulic fluid.

Damaged spot on hydraulic hose
Damaged spot on hydraulic hose
Major surgery was required to track and remove the injected hydraulic oil from the person's hand
Major surgery was required to track and remove the injected hydraulic oil from the person’s hand

Safety Event

Published: 10 November 2009
Download: IMCA SF 16/09

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