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Pressure Casualties

Fractured Tibia – Right Leg

Struck by length of pipe which blew off 6 inch main being flushed following chlorination. Probable Pressure – 16 BAR

Fractured tibia and laceration of the left leg

Struck by Aquagrip fitting which blew off the end of a 160mm PE pipe being fitted for chlorination. A glancing blow from a 28kg End cap more than 5m away. Probable Pressure – 9 BAR

Damaged windscreen of parked car

End cap of 450mm failed causing a stone from excavation to be projected some distance and damaged car windscreen. Probable Pressure – 7 BAR

Case Studies

Incident that occurred with a static length of pipe which caused severe injuries to the lower half of the body of a workman.

A 3m section of pipe, with a diameter of approximately 0.5m, was being tested at the contractor’s yard. The pipe had been removed from the ground in order for tests to be undertaken. In order to carry out a test to determine the internal condition of the pipe the workmen were instructed to half fill the pipe with water using a flexible hose attached to a nearby water main tap. Both ends of the pipe were then sealed with temporary end-cap fittings.

After approximately 12 minutes air pressure within the pipe had built-up sufficiently enough to propel one cap-end from the pipe when subsequently struck a nearby workman, inflicting significant injuries so as to hospitalise the worker. It was calculated that the pressure in the pipe was under 2 bar but this was sufficient to create a force of over five tons on the endplate. A subsequent test showed that the mains water pressure had the capability of going up to 5 bar.

Unfortunately the workers were completely unaware that this dangerous incident could occur.

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