November 2015 - Hydraulics Safety

A supervisor and maintenance mechanic were severely injured as a result of an incident that occurred while disassembling a large hydraulic cylinder.

In their attempt to remove the rod/gland assembly, they pressurized the cylinder with approximately 100 PSI compressed air with the objective of pushing the gland out. This attempt failed.

In addition to applying force with compressed air, they applied heat around the circumference of the cylinder tube with an acetylene torch. They thought that this would expand the cylinder tube, and possibly release the tube’s grip on the gland assembly.

Within minutes of their applying heat to the tube, the gland assembly unexpectedly blew out with a deafening explosion that was heard throughout the complex.

The air/oil mixture in the cylinder was ignited by the torch’s open flame. Both men were knocked to the ground by the force and covered with hydraulic oil which ignited. The workers survived but suffered serious injuries and burns.

Removal of Stubborn Hydraulic Rods

Safe Maintenance

Injection Injuries

Fire Hazards


  1. Free Posters from the International Hydraulic Safety Authority
  2. Safety Alert – Injection Injury During Helicopter Logging Maintenance
  3. Hazard Alert - Worker crushed while dump truck box was lowering


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