Director's Reports
The NCFP “censors” the paper I wrote for the upcoming conference in Las Vegas!
by Rory S. McLaren

My plight for safety in the fluid power industry has been ignored by such organizations as the American Society of Safety Engineers, OSHA, the Fluid Power Society, machinery and equipment manufacturers, et al, throughout the country.

However, when NCFP chairman, Mr. Abbey Vijlee advised me that the paper I wrote for the subject conference had been rejected, he left me with no alternative but to believe that my work had been “censored” by him and his committee.

The paper titled “ Warning Fluid Power Industry – Enter at Your Own Risk” was aimed at revealing the gross inequities in all facets of fluid power safety, with the overall objective of formulating a “plan for the future” to save lives.

In declining my paper Mr. Vijlee wrote: “while your paper was not selected for inclusion in the conference, be assured that our industry is keenly interested in safety-related issues. Many efforts at many levels have been and continue to be directed toward making fluid power and its applications safe and reliable.”

The fact is, that of the 98 papers which were accepted by Mr. Vijlee and his committee for inclusion, not one is related to a hydraulic safety issue – in fact, according to Mr. Prevallet, Technical Conference Coordinator, “no other abstracts concerning safety issues,” were submitted.

First, I vehemently disagree with Mr. Vijlee’s assessment of the industry with respect to safety.

I offer the same challenge to Mr. Vijlee and his committee as I have to the American Society of Safety Engineers, OSHA, and the Fluid Power Society (all of whom, it seems, don’t have the courage of their convictions to open dialogue on hydraulic safety issues) to meet me at the place of their choice, and “on my dime” to, get a “ground zero” look at the “real” state of safety in the fluid power industry.

In just the past four weeks, I have been involved with four injection injury related accidents which range in scope from debilitating hand injuries to one in which the oil entered the victims side and blew out his entire chest cavity.

Mr. Vijlee I challenge you and your committee to walk, just one day, in the shoes of a typical mechanic who:
  1. Is forced, in most cases by the threat of termination, to work on a hydraulic system with absolutely no training.
  2. Cannot recognize a hazardous situation associated with hydraulics due to lack of training.
  3. “Learns” hydraulics via a daily dose of “trial-and-error.”
  4. Works without the proper diagnostic tools.
  5. Uses manufacturers service and troubleshooting recommendations that tell him/her to “crack” lines and exhaust oil to atmosphere leaving them vulnerable to debilitating injection injuries.
  6. Cannot de-energize a hydraulic system because it does not meet OSHA’s requirement for lockout and tagout – if it does, by chance, de-energize, de-energization in the majority of cases cannot be verified.
  7. Has no protection under the law because OSHA and MSHA themselves know little or nothing about hydraulic safety issues.
  8. Is not protected by their own safety personnel because regardless of where safety personnel are trained, or how much training they receive, the training DOES NOT include hydraulic safety.

The trouble with Mr. Vijlee and his committee, in my opinion, is that they have never had to work on systems that are designed with absolutely no consideration for safety – and don’t give me the usual rhetoric, that I so often hear, that safety exists due to the standards developed by the SAE.

For example, how does the safety-factor of a hydraulic hose play a role in safety when the vast majority of people who operate crimping machines have never undergone formal training? Hose-end failures occur on a daily basis in plants throughout the United States. A young coal miner was recently killed when a hydraulic hose failed and struck him in the face.

I am disappointed at the decision of the NCFP et al. Sooner or later the fluid power industry, through its various organizations, is going to have to face up to the fact that it has a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of people who work on and around hydraulics. The Fluid Power Safety Institute will continue to promote hydraulic safety and encourage interested parties to join our quest.


The Fluid Power Training Institute along with the Fluid Power Safety Institute will be at the show – booth number S-14748. We will be giving away full color, fluid power safety posters.

Rory S. McLaren
Fluid Power Safety Institute

Your comments are welcome.


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