The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published Research Report RR976, Hydraulic injection injury, which can be downloaded from the HSE website (870kB PDF) - but beware, this report contains graphic images of injuries. Machine builders undertaking a risk assessment of hydraulic equipment in their designs should view this report if they are in any doubt about the potential for severe injuries.
Hydraulic injection can be defined as the puncturing of the epidermis (outermost layers of cells in the skin) by a jet of a fluid under pressure. Hydraulic injection injury is the term used to describe an injury sustained by an individual following an injection of fluid, usually while operating or inspecting pressurised hydraulic equipment. Reported instances of injury through hydraulic injection are comparatively uncommon in the UK, but the risk of injury through hydraulic injection is common to all hydraulic equipment, irrespective of the system volume, and can occur at relatively low pressures.
The Research Report and the experimental work described therein offers an explanation of the injury mechanism and the current understanding of medical prognosis following an injury of this type. Untreated hydraulic injection injuries can result in amputation or even death.
High-speed video footage of simulated hydraulic injection injuries was captured in order to illustrate the nature of injuries of this type. This footage will be made available to the public through various industry bodies later in 2013.
Follow the link to download a copy of the HSE's Research Report RR976, Hydraulic injection injury (870kB PDF).