An incident in which an employee lost the sight in one eye demonstrates why hazardous area equipment is important in high-pressure environments, including when testing is being carried out.
While hazardous area equipment is often designed to operate for long periods remotely, when close inspection is needed, it is still important to maintain the highest levels of safety.
In an incident in Clitheroe in January 2014, a worker was assisting in testing a hydraulic cylinder when the pressurised hose connector failed.
The hose struck the worker in the face, blinding him in his right eye and leaving him with a broken jaw and several lacerations.
HSE inspector Bradley Wigglesworth said: “The test was carried out without segregating or safeguarding the test zone, and the test connectors were not subject to maintenance or inspection.”
Hydraulic pressure is not the only risk to be aware of, and of course in explosive environments the potential consequences of a safety failure can be much greater.
For this reason, testing – when normal procedures may be disrupted – should always be carried out with extra caution to reduce the risk of a catastrophic incident.