HAZARD ALERT : High pressure injection injury results in amputation of worker's finger

Safety Alert Type: 
Mechanical Service (Field)
Vancouver Island
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker was working on a pressurized hydraulic line that had a pinhole leak. The worker inadvertently passed his hand over the leak while attempting to place a cloth over it to contain the escaping fluid.

Unknowingly the worker received a 1 centimetre cut on his right index finger caused by the high pressure from the escaping hydraulic fluid.

Due to the high pressure injection injury, infection spread rapidly resulting in the amputation of the worker’s right index finger (Warning: attached pdf contains graphic image).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

The Causes: Equipment such as paint or grease guns, diesel engine fuel injectors, hydraulic lines and pressure washers are all capable of emitting enough pressure to breach the human skin and inject contents into the human body which can cause workplace high pressure injection injuries.

Only 100 pounds per square inch (psi) is required to break intact human skin.

First Aid: Workers with injection injuries may experience little or no pain at the time of the incident. Entry wounds are frequently small or appear insignificant.

Any injury suspected to be from high pressure injection “Must be treated as Surgical Emergencies and RTC to appropriate facility”.

All details, including injection substances (SDS’s or non-hazardous materials ie: air, water) and observations must be recorded and accompany the injured worker.

Emergency Response Plans must include the name and contact information for qualified surgeons located at a minimum of 2 local hospitals. They must be notified that a worker has (or is suspected to have) a high pressure injection injury and is being medically evacuated to their location for immediate surgery.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Bill Clarke, Safety & Asset Manager - Helifor Office (604) 269-2002 bill.clarke@helifor.com


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