Hydraulic Lifting Equipment – What to consider for safety

Hydraulic systems are everywhere around us, and it's no surprise, as a tool for lifting heavy loads or applying pressure, they're efficient and powerful.

Due to the basic rule of Pascal's Principle, they allow a small force to be multiplied into a much larger one, making it a breeze to lift heavy objects or operate other equipment used in lifting or bolting for example.

But this also brings with it dangers which should be considered before operating any hydraulic equipment.

Are you staff trained?

Making staff fully aware of the safety precuations that must be taken when operating hydraulic equipment is essential, and it's not just about its operation.

Staff may well be aware of the operational requirements of a particular piece of machinery, but such equipment is usually heavy, powerful and may well have non-obvious dangers.

For example, has the area around the equipment been fully cleared to ensure there are no obstructions, no chances of anyone walking through while the machinery is in operation and no loose objects that could rattle free?

Safety training very often includes more than just knowing how to keep equipment and operators safe; it also involves understanding those around you, and the potential for danger as well as the more immediate risks posed by the machinery itself.

Has the equipment been checked?

Hydraulic systems require very high pressures to be exerted on hoses and joints, especially when lifting heavy objects, or crushing dense materials, so it's important to ensure all measures have been taken to prevent any leak.

Damage to hoses, even pinholes, can result in catatrophic failure. The amount of pressure in a system may start low, but when increased, a pinhole can very quickly become larger, leaking sometimes hot or toxic fluid causing yet more danger to people around.

It requires a competent and sufficiently trained person to understand the dangers of the equipment and know where to check to ensure safety.

Is the equipment suitable?

This is probably the most important aspect of an inspection before using hydraulic equipment.

Hydraulic tools are usually pretty tough, but they all have their limits, and it's essential to check that you're not going to exceed them.

Always use the correct tool for the job (a rule that works everywhere), and don't be tempted to nudge past the manufacturers recommended tollerances just to get a job done quickly.

Those limits are there for a reason.

Don't have the resources in-house?

Of course, many companies don't have or even need the resources to provide staff training, maintenance, and support, and that's why Worlifts are here to provide everything you need to ensure safety and correct operation at all times.

Our on-site testing, calibration and training services can come out to your site and make sure you're doing everything to ensure the safety of your staff, and the efficiency of your equipment.