Engineers onboard carry out a lot of maintenance and they deal with hydraulic and pneumatic tools often. A crew lost his limb (some even say the crew lost his life) as a fine stream of high-pressure hydraulic oil got injected into his limbs.
Maintenance work was being undertaken on the main propulsion engine. Immediately prior to the accident the first cylinder head had been removed using the equipment and procedures normally used for this task. The hydraulic jacks for tensioning the main retaining bolts (regulated at 500 bar) was applied and pressured up to 490 bar.
The injured person’s hand was on the body of the hydraulic jack. He had coiled the high-pressure hose around his arms. As he slackened the main nut on the tensioned bolt a small release of HP oil was injected into his hands.
The cause of the release was the failure of an HP seal on the hydraulic jack that allowed a high-velocity discharge of a small quantity of hydraulic oil to be released through a small aperture. The failure was attributed to a missing backup ‘o’-ring seal. Even though the injured person was wearing PPE, the jet of oil penetrated his hand.
The reason for the missing backup ‘o’-ring could not be established. It was either omitted by the manufacturer or during maintenance. The risk assessment that was carried out did not identify that high pressure could be contained within the jack.
The company involved has identified the following:
- the need for a specific procedure regarding the changing of seal/’o’-ring assemblies;
- investigation and availability of gloves that provide additional protection against equipment that may involve high pressure
- hydraulic jacks should be included on planned maintenance system;
- additional PPE (full face visors) to be worn while performing this task in future.
The Video above was from Youtube and we do not hold any rights/liabilities for using this video. The case described above resembles the content of the video.
How to Avoid Injection Injuries:
- Don’t “crack” high pressure connectors or lines to “check” for pressure and/or flow.
- To check a hose for leaks while pressurized, run a piece of cardboard or paper along the hose, wear gloves, long sleeves, and safety glasses.
- Shut down all equipment when looking for leaks.
- Relieve pressures (Hose, etc.)
- Check to ensure pressure relieved.
- Deactivation the source of power to zero energy.