Workplace injury while using a hydraulic press

Public news

A first year light vehicle apprentice was lucky when he recently suffered minor bruising and lacerations to his left index and ring finger. The apprentice was assisting another worker using a Hydraulic Press to reassemble a recoil spring assembly, when a part of the assembly failed whilst under pressure and was ejected from the press.

After investigating the workplace incident it was identified that the first year apprentice, who was wearing the appropriate PPE, was holding the spring in line whilst the other worker operated the Press. The first year apprentice was provided with immediate first aid on site and then taken to nearest medical centre for further treatment. The apprentice lost 10 days off work and returned to modified duties for a week before being medically cleared to return to normal pre-injury duties.

As a result of the incident, management promptly communicated to all workers the Hydraulic Press Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) highlighting that at no time is a second worker to hold the spring whilst the press is in use!

Staff refresher hazardous task training is an important safety requirement in the workplace to highlight the importance of SOP’s when using hazardous tools/machines. By employers providing regular safety training relating to hazardous high risk tasks, the chance of a repeat incident is highly unlikely. Attached is a draft Hydraulic Press SOP for your information.


  • Move adjusting beam to correct height and secure pins.
  • Ensure column pins are fully engaged after adjusting height.
  • Safely position table plates to support and secure job.
  • Carefully align work under press for even force to be applied.
  • Position a suitable drift between arbor and object to be pressed.
  • Ensure job parts are aligned properly before and during the pressing process and clean to avoid
  • Being squeezed out or ejected, be sure item or parts can’t fly out under load or drop to the floor.
  • Utilise machine guards if available and when appropriate.
  • Keep head, hands & other body parts clear of both the job parts and machine while press is being operated.
  • Close relief valve and engage contact with arbor or drift.
  • Do NOT apply excessive force.
  • Carefully operate pump handle using minimum force required to complete the press job.
  • Beware that high forces are being applied during the pressing process.
  • When press operation is complete open the relief valve to release pressure and remove items.

The MTA works with a number of people to get apprentices back into the workplace after an injury. If you have an apprentice or other employees that need help, contact the MTA’s WHS & RTW Coordinator Cos Lamberto by clicking here.