One of the most dangerous situations for hydraulic equipment is a hose burst. Whether it is a pinhole leak or a full blow burst, the danger is eminent.
Hydraulic hose bursts create dangerous situations not only for the equipment itself but the individuals running it or standing near it. Hose failures can be minimized with regular maintenance, but that doesn't guarantee a hose assembly won't fail. Sometimes things happen without any warning signs. At Hose Products Division, we are serious about keeping users safe, which is why we have a variety of hose accessories to protect end users.
Hydraulic hose bursts can result from a number of reasons and extreme working conditions. Incorrect routing, higher than published working pressures and temperatures, abrasion, and incompatible hydraulic fluids are several common reasons why hydraulic hose assemblies burst. A burst can lead to leaking or spraying hydraulic fluid, which is oftentimes very hot. This can result in slips, falls, and even burns.
Pinhole leaks can form, leading to serious injury and even death if not handled correctly. If you suspect there is a pinhole leak in your hydraulic system, never try to find it with your hand. Since hot, and highly pressurized, hydraulic fluid is pushing out through one tiny hole, pinhole leaks can be extremely dangerous. Use a piece of cardboard to determine if there is a pinhole leak. If you put your hand in front of the leak, oil will inject itself into your skin. The damage may not look very bad at first, but given time the oil will spread, swelling the skin, burning the inside of your wound, and eventually leading to amputation or death if serious enough. Injection injury prevention planning is critical to avoid serious injury. In addition to oil injection injuries, hydraulic oil from pinhole leaks can pool on floors, leaving slippery areas. This can cause injury to bystanders who are unaware of the leak.
Fitting blow offs can be just as dangerous as pinhole leaks. When fittings blow off, sharp and sometimes heavy metal can fly through the air striking nearby personnel and machinery. The hose may still be pressurized, resulting in a whipping hose that will spray hydraulic fluid. Fitting blow offs typically happen when hose and fittings are mismatched from different manufacturers or from improper assembly. Parker fittings are specifically engineered and tested to work only with Parker hose. Using compatible hose and fittings with proper assembly will greatly decrease the risk of fitting blow offs. Additionally, identifying STAMP (size, temperature, application, media, and pressure) requirements will ensure you have the proper hose and fittings for your specific application needs.
Partek Defense is a hose sleeve designed to protect equipment and nearby personnel in the event of a high-pressure hose burst. This hose sleeve is constructed with multiple layers that contains and dissipates any energy and media resulting from a hose burst. Partek Defense is great for all applications but especially those in the mining, construction, and agriculture industries where operators are in close proximity to hydraulic hoses. Partek Defense is easy to assemble and allows the hose to remain flexible so it does not interfere with routing.
Hose Products Division offers a Hose Whip Restraint system to prevent whipping of a pressurized hose in the case of a fitting blow off. The system is comprised of two parts – a hose collar and a cable assembly. The collar is selected based on the outside diameter of the hose, while the cable assembly is selected based on the type of hose connection. Both the hose collar and the cable assembly work together to keep the hose from whipping if the hose disconnects from the fitting. This is important for protecting the equipment and nearby personnel.
In addition to Partek Defense and the Hose Whip Restraint, Hose Products Division offers a Firesleeve to keep end users safe while using hydraulic hoses. The Firesleeve is a flame resistant, braided fiberglass sleeve with an orange silicone cover that protects against extreme temperature conditions in all industries. This hassle-free sleeve simply slides over hoses and fittings and is secured in place with Firesleeve Clamps. Additionally, Firesleeve Tape can be used to seal the Firesleeve at the hose ends, replacing messy sealant that takes time to cure. For easy installation, be sure that the outer diameter of the hose is smaller than the inside diameter of the Firesleeve.
A hose failure can create further damage and costly downtime for hydraulic equipment, while also creating potentially dangerous situations for nearby personnel. Hoses and equipment can always be replaced, but equipment users cannot. Make sure to take precautions by using these safety items or any of Hose Products Division's other hose protection sleeves to prevent damage to the hose, which could cause failure and harm to nearby personnel.
Article contributed by Kyri McDonough, marketing services manager at Hose Products Division, Parker Hannifin.
Other related topics on hydraulic hose, hose application, and selection criteria: