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Hazard Alerts

Injection of hydraulic fluid accident

Drill Safe


Description of the accident

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A fitter was tracing the source of a small hydraulic leak on a drill rig. The fitter found the small leak and requested that the machine be shut down so that the hose could be replaced.

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When the machine was shut down the fitter placed his double gloved index finger over the wear spot on the hose so as not to lose the location of the leak.

Hydraulic fluid burst through the wear spot on the hose and injected through the double gloves into the fitter’s index finger. Major surgery was required to track and remove the injected hydraulic fluid from the fitter’s finger and hand.

Apparent causes

The fitter was not aware that the machine system remained pressurised but actually increased the hydraulic pressure (back pressure hazard) for approximately 2 seconds after the machine shut down, as a result he held his finger over the wear spot.


  1. All fluids, hydraulic oil, water or air can store very large amounts of energy when under pressure. All operational staff must constantly be sensitised to the dangers of these sources of stored energy and of the hazards associated with the release of stored energy.
  2. Maintenance staff working on high pressure hydraulic systems must wear appropriate reinforced gloves.