|A hose end/connector separation failure IS AN ACCIDENT!!!
By Rory S. McLaren - Director
A maintenance technician narrowly escaped serious injury when a hose blew out of an improperly crimped hose assembly and hit her on the forearm.
She was doused with hydraulic oil during the altercation. Fortunately, the oil was relatively cool.
She luckily escaped with no more than having to take a shower and a change of clothing.
A new hose assembly was made and installed on the machine.
Regrettably, there was no investigation by her company's safety or maintenance department to determine the root cause of the problem.
Although her company had a "near-miss" accident-reporting program in place, this "incident" did not qualify as a non-injury accident!
Fluid power or hydraulics was reportedly not a "defined occupational hazard" under her company's safety protocol, thus it was overlooked.
This "accident" lends further credence to the fact that safety professionals and risk managers are generally naive about fluid power/hydraulic safety.
Are hose-end/connector failures common? Absolutely! Are they dangerous? Profoundly!
According to an article written by Aaron Porter of the Daily Sentinel newspaper, "a 36-year-old coal miner was fatally injured when he was hit in the face by a hydraulic hose that had broken loose."
"An unidentified man also sustained non-fatal injuries in the mining accident, reported Mr. Porter" - end quote.
We could offer further evidence of the fact that a hose-end/connector failure is a serious problem. However, this newspaper report offers testimony to the potential severity of the failure, should it occur.
Ironically, ALL hose-end/connector failures are caused by human error. The leading cause is due to the fact that most people who operate crimping machines have little or no experience and/or training.
Companies that have internal hose assembly units are just as guilty as "specialty" hose shops when it comes to the question of proper training.
FPSI offers the following advice to prevent hose-end/connector failures:
|Stop, with immediate effect, the making of hose assemblies by untrained personnel, including those with only on-the-job training/experience - regardless of how much!
|Invite the supplier/manufacturer of the equipment to conduct a "certification" training course for personnel that are assigned to the hose-build program.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your safety personnel MUST also attend this training, and so should the appropriate purchasing agents!
|Make sure that the personnel who conduct the training are technical people and not strictly sales personnel - the last thing your maintenance personnel need is a sales pitch!
|At the conclusion of the training, the students MUST complete, and pass, a written test to confirm that they understand the seriousness of the task. Completed test forms MUST be inserted in the respective employees' personnel file.
|Make it a written AND STRICTLY ENFORCED POLICY that no one, without certification, is permitted to make hose assemblies - EVEN IF PRODUCTION DEPENDS ON IT.
|The safety department, or appropriate committee, MUST analyze any and all hose/connector failures, regardless of the situation, to determine root-cause - absolutely no exceptions!
|Any and all hose/connector failures, regardless of outcome, MUST be written up as a non-injury accident (NIA).
|Outside vendors MUST embrace the same safety protocol and appreciation of safety that your company commands. Put vendors on notice that their personnel MUST be professionally trained and duly certified.
Last, but certainly not least, vendors MUST understand that they WILL be partners in any non-injury or injury related accident investigation. Remember! Their lack of respect for safety may cause one or more of your employees to suffer an injury or death. Thus, they MUST be accountable!
The Fluid Power Safety Institute was created to eliminate accidents in the fluid power industry. While we are not experts, nor do we pretend to be, in the business of hose assembly construction, we simply want to point out that this is a serious problem that requires prompt attention.
We welcome the participation of companies and personnel who want to offer their input about this subject.
These are general recommendations only. The FPSI urges you to seek the help of your hose/assembly equipment supplier. We are confident that they will have further, specific safety advice to offer you.
We invite feedback from responsible individuals.
Now go out and do what is right for you, your company, and especially your family - WORK SAFELY!