Think safety with hydraulics

Workshops using high pressure hydraulics should make sure safe work methods are employed

Think safety with hydraulics
Think safety with hydraulics

August 30, 2012

Hydraulic lifting specialist Enerpac says while hydraulics can make life easier in workshops, the high pressures involved demand precautions and safe work practices to protect people and equipment.

With pressures of up to 700 Bar, hydraulic tools can often be misused, putting not just the operator, but also bystanders, at risk of injury.

Enerpac says precautions such as wearing appropriate clothing, including safety boots, gloves and glasses can prevent many injuries, while operators should also be properly trained in how to use the equipment.

Another area is the use of properly seated jacks, with a base plate under the jacking system to prevent holes being punched into the floor from the reactive force, as well as making sure the jack is not tilted, stopping the load from slipping while lifted.

Enerpac also warns of the risk to equipment from dirt and heat, saying dust caps will keep grit out of seals, while any heat above 65C can degrade hydraulic fluid, so a piece of sheet metal or even a blanket should be used to prevent heat transfer.

Other precautions for safe operation include not standing in the line of force, as well as not using extension handles, as these can tip the jack off-balance, bringing the whole job crashing down.

Enerpac also suggest a maximum of 80 percent of lifting capacity be used, to prevent accelerated wear and premature component failure, which also makes pumping easier.

Equipment should only be lifted by the cylinder and pump to prevent hose damage, while the hose should never be stretched taut prior to pressurising, as the hose shortens as more pressure is applied, which can lead to blowouts.

As a final hint for safe operation, Enerpac says choosing the right cylinder and pump for the job, with sufficient working load, is vital, as it allows the hydraulic system to work to capacity without stressing components.

To find out more about the right hydraulic system for workshop applications, go to

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