Health Problems While Using Hydraulic Fluids
People can become exposed to the chemicals in hydraulic fluids. The exposure to chemicals may be due to inhalation, ingestion, or touch. There are instances of people suffering from skin irritation or weakness in hands while handling hydraulic fluids. There are also cases of intestinal bleeding, pneumonia, or death through hydraulic fluid ingestion though no serious hazards are reported with hydraulic fluid inhalation.
Similar to ingestion, fluids can be accidentally injected into the skin as well. This takes place when the high-pressure hydraulic system hose is disconnected and toxic fluids are leaked and injected into the skin. If there is a small leak in the hydraulic pipe and someone runs there hand along it, at 2000 psi, they can easily incur an injection of hydraulic fluid and may not even be aware that it happened until gangrene begins to set in.
Fire Dangers Associated with Hydraulic fluids
When working with hydraulic fluid, there is every chance that the hydraulic fluid gets heated to high temperatures. And it is evident that most petroleum-based hydraulic fluids will burn and thereby create explosions and burns.
Environmental Problems Related to Hydraulic Fluids
Another hazard of hydraulic fluid is that when the hydraulic hose or pipe leaks, the chemicals of the fluids can either stay on top of the soil or sink into the ground. If the chemicals get mixed in a water body, they will sink to the bottom. In fact in such cases the chemicals can stay there for more than a year. Aquatic life can absorb the toxic hydraulic fluid, leading to illness or death to the animal or anything higher on the food chain. For example, a hawk that eats a fish that has been contaminated by hydraulic fluid that was mixed in water could become ill as well.
Although the slimy texture of hydraulic fluids may not seem like a danger or a problem, a spill can cause a person to slip and fall. Also when there is fluid on the hands of a person, it can cause him to slip while climbing on a machine. It can also cause the operator to lose steering control.
There are numerous hazards involved, like skin irritation, fires, explosions, environmental damage, and a slippery workplace. But hydraulic fluids are required for many machines to function. Therefore it is necessary to follow certain precautions while using these fluids. With proper knowledge of these hazards, working with hydraulic fluid can be safe.