TechConnect Explains How to Prevent Hydraulic Fitting Leaks

September 3, 2015

The TechConnect team points out the most common causes of hydraulic leaks and how to prevent them from becoming disastrous injuries to personnel.

Hydraulic safety is an area that requires special safety attention. Pressurized fluids in hydraulic systems travel can travel 600 feet per second and penetrate deep under the skin when a leak occurs.

“Injection of high-pressure hydraulic oil into the hand or forearm nearly always requires emergency surgery to stop the damage,” Construction Equipment Editor Walt Moore reports.

10 Things Not to Do With Hydraulic Fitting Leaks:

1.     Don’t use your hand to check for leaks. Hydraulic fluids can reach temperatures of 300˚F or higher. In addition, leaks can be in excess of 600 feet per second and capable of penetrating and injecting fluid into the skin at distances up to four inches between the fluid source and the skin. 

2.     Be sure to assess the fitting connection before over-tightening a nut, which can ruin the fitting integrity.

3.     Always depressurize a hydraulic system before inspections. Depressurization reduces the chances of hydraulic fluid erupting during inspection.

4.     Don’t cut corners and always replace a fitting with the exact same fitting type instead of a similar fitting.

5.     The drip point may not be the leak point, fluid could be elsewhere in the system.

6.     Don’t reuse an O-ring because they are susceptible to cracks that can ruin the integrity of the fit.

7.     Protect an open system while you are fixing a leak to avoid contamination and extend the life of your equipment.

8.     Clean connecting ends before replacing or reassembling a fitting to prevent dirt and metal flakes from entering the hydraulic system.

9.     Keep all open flames away from leak points.

10.  Don’t ignore any leak, even minor ones because they may be a sign of a more serious issue within the hydraulic system.