An under-estimated danger to machine operators and service technicians are injuries from high pressure oil being injected into the skin.
Chris Armour, the marketing technical writer for Tigercat, provides invaluable information on this subject in Issue 44 of Tigercat’s “Between the Branches” publication. A very small hole in a high pressure hydraulic line can release hydraulic oil in an almost invisible stream at pressures high enough to penetrate the skin. If someone is feeling for hydraulic leaks, they may not even be aware of a problem as it may only sting like an insect bite or a sharp wire cut. However, if not treated, the injury will result in severe pain and will need immediate surgery. If the injury is left untreated for longer periods there is even the risk of losing fingers, a hand or even death.
The problem results from the fluid entering the blood stream, muscles and tendons. The pressure alone can cause painful swelling and it can result in death as the body has no natural defences against it. Bacteria can also be driven into the wound. Specialised surgery very soon after the injury is incurred is the only way of preventing permanent disability. To prevent this, people should always wear suitable protective equipment such as safety glasses and gloves. The machine must also be properly depressurised before working on the hydraulics. One’s hand should never be used to grab hydraulic pipes or search for leaks. It is always better to use an item such as a long flat piece of cardboard to check for leaks. If an accident does occur, workers must be transported to hospital as quickly as possible and surgery must be immediate. Source