Fluid injection injury –the things to know

Published:  07 May, 2014

The British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) provides important advice and guidance on what to do in the event of a fluid injection injury.

High-pressure injection injuries are comparatively rare, occurring in an average of 1 in 600 cases of hospital reported hand injuries. However, when they do occur they should be taken very seriously indeed and treated as a medical emergency.Any person who receives (or may have received) a fluid injection injury, no matter how minor it may appear, must follow the following procedure:

Treatment

1. If possible, make the area safe to prevent other people receiving a fluid injection injury.

2. Call for an ambulance to transport the patient to hospital. After this there may be a requirement for someone else to take over the responsibilities and duties of the patient (for example, if the patient was operating a mobile van on-site). This falls outside the scope of this procedure.

3. The next of kin should be told of the injury and that they must await further news.

4. First aid treatment should be given. This would include gentle cleaning of the injured part, immobilising and evaluating the affected limb to a comfortable position. The patient should rest to avoid anxiety. The patient should NOT be given food or fluid as they may require surgery.

5. The following information should be made available for when the ambulance arrives: Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the injected material, details showing the site where the fluid was injected (see Appendix 2 in the BFPA’s ‘Fluid Injection Injury Emergency – The Facts’ booklet. Details of how to obtain a copy can be found at the foot of this article), a completed copy of the ‘Injection Injury Patient Information Sheet’ (see Appendix 3 in the BFPA’s ‘Fluid Injection Injury Emergency – The Facts’ booklet.). Appendix 4 and 5 found in the booklet should also be made available. All of this information should be attached to the patient; a copy should also be given to the ambulance crew.

6. Employees concerned must not be left alone or allowed to drive themselves to the hospital.

7. Upon arrival at the hospital the medical staff must be given a copy of Appendix 2 and 3. They should also be made aware and preferably given a copy of Appendix 4 and 5.

8. If the patient is referred to the general waiting room within an Accident and Emergency department medical personnel must be made aware that fluid injection injuries should be treated as a medical emergency and that immediate treatment is required in order to give the patient the best chance of having a positive outcome.

9. The employer must be made aware of the treatment given to the patient.

10. Once the patient arrives back at work the incident must be fully documented and procedures reviewed/put into place to reduce the likelihood of a repeat incident.

Training and guidance

The subject of hydraulic fluid injection injury is covered in existing BFPA training courses offered by the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), incorporating the British Fluid Power Distributors Association (BFPDA):‘Hose Integrity, Inspection and Management Training Programme’ or other related BFPA courses – ‘the BFPA Foundation Course in Working Safely with Hydraulic Hose and Connectors’ and ‘the BFPA Hose Assembly Skills Training Programme’. The BFPA has also published a booklet titled ‘Fluid Injection Injury Emergency – The Facts’, priced at £3.10 for BFPA/BFPDA members and £6.25 for non-members. To order your copy of the booklet, or to enquire about the BFPA’s training courses, please email: enquiries@bfpa.co.uk or phone the BFPA on (+44)1608 647900

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