A webinar presented by the International Fluid Power Society on the prevention and management of fluid injection injuries cites a study by Snarski and Birkhahn, two emergency department doctors at the New York Methodist Hospital. And it contains some sobering statistics:
Fluid injection injuries are relatively rare with around 600 incidences in North America per year. That’s the good news. The bad news is it means your average emergency department doctor may not recognize the seriousness of the situation.
High-pressure grease guns/systems account for 57% of injection injuries. Paint, hydraulic oil and similar fluids account for 18%. And diesel fuel injectors 14%.
The overall incidence of medical amputation resulting from such injuries is 48%. But if the injection pressure is greater than 7000 PSI, the amputation rate approaches 100%.
The average elapsed time between occurrence of injury and seeking medical attention is 9 hours. This is attributed to the apparent benign nature of initial injection, combined with a lack of awareness of the seriousness of this type of injury.
Disturbingly, where 10 hours or more elapses between occurrence of injury and medical intervention, the amputation rate approaches 100%.
Bottom line: fluid injection injuries are medical emergencies which typically require surgical intervention to release the injected fluid and limit the tissue damage it causes. This is something everyone who works on or near hydraulic machines needs to be aware of. So pass this along. And something else to be aware of are the “Six Costly Mistakes Most Hydraulics Users Make… And How You Can Avoid Them!” available for FREE download here.