Hydraulic Safety

Always treat high-pressure equipment with the extreme caution

High potential risks

The power stored in hydraulic equipment is probably second only to that of a bullet.

Hydraulic control is unbeatable for its power density and flexibility of use. It makes equipment move faster, with more power and with more articulation than any other technology and for that reason, it can be extremely dangerous.

Add to this that fluid temperatures are often well above scolding temperatures and if leaks get near naked flames they can cause a dangerous fire.


Stand behind a physical shield, away from working hydraulic equipment.

Wear protective clothing e.g. glasses, steel capped boots, protective gloves and overalls.

Check that tank return and drain lines are open to tank before you turn on.

Unload the system before you start the pump.

Discharge all accumulators before approaching equipment.

Make sure raised loads are physically supported before you stop the pump.

Never work near a load supported by hydraulic pressure alone.


Safety of flexible hydraulic hose

Hydraulic hoses are responsible for more injuries than any other part of the hydraulic equipment and therefore require special attention.


Make sure that hoses ends are physically restrained.

Check hose dates are within predicted life limits, typically 5-7 years but this really depends on the environment and application and can be shorter. Manufacturing dates are written on all hose.

Replace whenever you see a damage or wear to the outer surface.

Never use reusable hose ends.


Never put any part of your skin within 100mm of a pressurised hydraulic hose. Tiny holes in the hose can inject fluid under your skin, leaving very little visual sign of injury but if it's not treated immediately it can lead to amputation. This is a rare injury but it is difficult to identify and few hospital staff have any knowledge of the risk. It does, however, require specialist medical attention including surgery within 6 hours.

ALWAYS - on first build

Make sure the equipment has been commissioned by an experienced hydraulics engineer.

Pressure test all hydraulic equipment to 1.5 times working pressure, using a low energy pressure device such as a hand or pneumatic pump, before first off starting.