Safety First: How to Use High-Pressure Hydraulic Tools

High-pressure hydraulic system safety is paramount. When you’re working with powerful tools, it’s important to make sure that they’re used properly. Otherwise, the risk of injury, property damage and even death is high. This can affect others—not just you—so it’s crucial that you take all necessary precautions.

Here are some rules to follow when you’re using high-pressure hydraulics to ensure your own safety, as well as that of your coworkers and your environment:

  • Wear protective gear: As always, you should be wearing the appropriate safety gear any time you’re on the job. Hard hats, safety vests, gloves, steel-toed boots and safety glasses should be worn at a minimum. If your workplace requires additional gear, be sure to use it appropriately. It’s in your best interest to be visible and protected at all times.
  • Read the operating instructions: If you’ve worked with a particular piece of equipment frequently, it might seem silly to read the operating instructions—but it’s a smart way to confirm that you’re operating the tool properly. Some new equipment or new brands may have different requirements or capacities than others.
  • Always inspect your equipment: Before you get started, inspect your equipment for any issues. Look for damaged hoses, cylinder plungers or couplers before you operate the machinery. If your workplace requires you to perform additional inspections, do so at the same time.
  • Look for obvious hazards: Use common sense to identify obvious hazards, like flammable liquid spills, puddles, tripping hazards, oil temperatures over 150ºF and poorly-ventilated spaces. You should also examine the electrical components to make sure the cords appear to be in good working order.
  • Avoid overloading: High-pressure hydraulic tools are powerful, but overloading them can be extremely dangerous. Follow the 80 percent rule: Do not load more than 80 percent of the machine’s capacity for load or stroke. This will prevent serious injury, property damage and damage to the hydraulic system itself.
  • Secure all parts and components: You likely already know how important it is to secure parts and components before you get to work. This ensures that nothing falls (or falls apart) during the work process.
  • Know how to use each cylinder type: You’ll be working with either a single- or double-acting cylinder, depending on your specific machinery. While double cylinders advance and retract hydraulically, single-acting cylinders either push or pull hydraulically and use springs or load return to finish the job. Knowing which type you’re using will help you operate them properly—another great reason to read the operating instructions first.
  • Do not position your body under a load: When you’re moving a load, do not put any part of your body underneath it, unless you have cribbed the load first. Avoid being crushed (or crushing someone else) by observing this simple safety rule.

Following these high-pressure hydraulic system safety rules will keep you, your crew and your equipment safe for years to come. For industrial and construction tools, equipment and supplies, reach out to the team at Zo-Air Co. Inc. today.

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