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Hot Air & Slippery Stuff 103

Fluid Power Safety

A recent study by the Ocupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) They found that manufacturing accounted for 26% of work related hospitalizations and 57% of work related applications – Both higher than any other industry in the United States.

The statistics such as these explain why, for both OEMs and end- users, there is considerable interest and focus today at improving production machinery safety and incorporating training of those working on or near the machinery.

It is vital for manufacturing companies to ensure the safety and health of their employees who are engaged in the installation, operation, adjustment, and maintenance of production equipment.

As an example:

The sudden reintroduction of air into a pneumatic system can cause unintended and sudden motion of components. This increases the risk of damage to the machinery itself, or else causes the products retained by fixtures or clamps to move or drop – resulting in damage, spills, lost products, and scrap. By trying to avoid this damage and maintain expected output, some operators may be tempted to allow some machinery to remain active when it should not be, thereby inadvertently exposing themselves and their operations to increased risk.

Fluid Power, like Electrical, can be an unforgiving entity when utilized by either untrained or marginally trained individuals. According to the National Safety Council, every 7 seconds, a worker is injured on the job. Each day in this country, an average of 14 workers die because of job injuries—women and men who go to work, never to return home to their families and loved ones. 

According to the National Safety Council, of the Top Five workplace injury locations – Number #3 is “Manufacturing Production” – Number #4 is “Installation, Maintenance and Repair.”

Of course not all of these injuries or deaths are a resullt of mishandling by technicians, a lack of training or failure of fluidpower equipment; but if even one life is saved, is that not sufficient to require proper training?

These numbers are staggering, and the worst part is that each one is preventable. Taking preventative action can spare workers needless pain and suffering, and part of that preventative action, of course is training on the appropriate subject. In our case it is hydraulics and pneumatics, it’s uses, components, applications, troubleshooting and safety.

Workplace injuries and fatalities should never be considered a cost of doing business. Every worker deserves a safe work environment and to return home safely at the end of each work day.