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Mine Safety and Health Administration
MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Innovative Products


Grease Pressure Release Gun

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Mine operators should perform a risk analysis on their equipment to identify grease fittings and lubrication chambers which may contain residual high pressure.

Since 1983, forty accidents involving release of grease under high pressure have been reported to MSHA. Twenty-seven of these accidents were associated with relieving stored grease energy or removal of the grease fitting. These accidents have resulted in eye injuries, lacerations, punctures, dislocated finger joints, and grease injections into the body. Equipment associated with the accidents included continuous miner cat track take-ups, conveyor grease jacks, machine mounted drills, mobile equipment (i.e. dozer track cylinders), feeder/breakers, surface coal mine augers, and mobile bridge conveyor units.

The problem can occur when grease is forced under pressure through a small opening. The force applied places the grease under tremendous pressure. The pressures can build up in the lubrication chamber to an extremely high level creating an unsuspected stored energy condition.
Grease Pressure Release Gun

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In addition, trapped air can be compressed, making the release of grease more violent and dangerous. Using a pressure-release tool before disassembling/servicing or welding/heating lubricated components can eliminate the hazard of stored energy.

After an experienced Australian miner lost an eye while removing a grease fitting to check for proper lubrication on a dragline, a hydraulic/lubrication engineering design/manufacturing company and a mining company teamed up to solve this safety problem. They developed an innovative "Grease Pressure Release Gun."

The handheld "Grease Pressure Release Gun" tool is engineered to:
    1. Detect and indicate the presence of stored grease energy.

    2. Safely relieve the stored energy when used properly.
For information on manufacturers that are known to MSHA to have such products available, contact MSHA's Applied Engineering Division at 304-547-2303 or e-mail zzMSHA-InnovativeProducts@dol.gov.


Issued: 11/03/2005
Tag # AP2005-0091748