Qld innovation on grease gun injection injuries

A QUEENSLAND engineering company has developed a remote pressure release system that allows high-pressure grease injection operators to attach or remove a blocked grease gun without the risk of an injection injury.

Lou Caruana

Grease is the most common injection injury, with large surgical hand centres advising any injection injury should be considered a potential limb threatening emergency. Due to the extreme trauma caused by the injury, one in four result in amputation, and if the pressure is 7,000 PSI or greater, the amputation rate reaches 100%.

Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE) aimed to find a simple, cost-effective solution that could be quickly activated should pressure begin building in a blocked grease gun, with the result being a garage-door-style remote control that would safely release the pressure in the hose.

ADE manufacturing manager Daniel Kirk said the key for ADE was to come up with something that would not create more work for the serviceman, but make it as fast and easy as possible to eliminate the hazard of a pressure build-up.

“Our research revealed that the usual protective equipment was not protecting servicemen from high pressure injection injuries, and the standard process of removing the hose from the nipple in the case of a blockage was intrinsically flawed and dangerous,” Kirk said.

“The solution is our remote-operated wireless transmitter that can be activated up to 50m from the service truck to release the build-up of pressure. It can be retrofitted to existing systems, and has already been installed at nine mine sites across Australia with great results.”

Mining operations excellence manager at Downer EDI Mining Mick Carr said the remote grease pressure release system is a safety innovation which is easy to use and highly effective, without creating extra work.

The control unit is contained in a small stainless steel cabinet and mounted on top of the service truck or near the grease pumps, suitable for both hydraulically and pneumatically operated systems, with a single-function remote control that turns off pressure to high volume and high pressure grease systems, with LED lights indicating to the serviceman when the system is safe to operate again.

The remote grease pressure release system was awarded “highly commended” in the 2014 Innovation Awards at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety conference this year, which recognises creative and practical solutions to health and safety.

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