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Take proper precautions when working with bulldozer hydraulics

Agriculture.com Staff Updated: 07/12/2010 @ 4:11pm

There's a lot of pressure coursing through those hydraulic hoses on your bulldozer. Treating this kind of machine's hydraulic system -- like all other machinery -- with anything less than the utmost caution and safety can result in serious injury.

"Hydraulic systems store considerable energy. Careless servicing, adjustment or replacement of parts can result in serious injury," according to a report from Canada's Farm Safety Association (FSA). "High-pressure blasts of hydraulic oil can injure eyes or other body parts by burning or penetrating the tissue due to the liquid being hot. Leaks are a serious hazard."

A stream of hydraulic fluid as small as the head of a pin, when escaping from a pressurized system, can do serious damage. Even leaks that small can penetrate the skin, according to an FSA report. "Get medical attention quickly or you could lose that part of the body that was injected," the report says.

Officials with FSA recommend using a piece of cardboard or other surface to check for hydraulic leaks. And, always shut down the dozer's engine before perfoming any service, as that powers the hydraulic pump.

"Lower the implement to the ground and relieve the pressure," FSA officials add. "Follow the instructions in your operator's manual, because the specific procedures for servicing the systems are very important to your safety."

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