Worker injured by exploding earthmover tyre
A young worker has suffered severe facial injuries after an earthmover’s tyre exploded while he and another worker were removing a tyre from a split rim.
Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Queensland is unsure why the incident occurred and investigations are ongoing.
To prevent a similar incident, WHS Queensland advises that wheels should not be worked on while pressurised tyres are mounted on them under any circumstances. This is particularly true for welding or wheel repair work.
As a result, workers repairing, maintaining or changing tyres on earthmoving machinery or other heavy vehicles must ensure that the tyres are deflated before the wheels are removed from the machinery or vehicle.
Once deflated, tyres should be removed from the wheel to prevent damage during the repair process.
New and used tyres and wheels should be inspected for defects or damage during this time.
If both are sound, workers should refit the tyre to the rim and secure the wheel in a safety cage or other portable restraint device for tyre reinflation.
Before reinflating the tyre, workers should establish potential trajectories and exclusion zones in case of tyre failure and stay outside of these areas.
They should also check that the air hose between the clip-on valve nozzle and the remote gauge and trigger is long enough for workers to stay outside the exclusion zone and ensure a remote dump valve that can rapidly deflate a tyre has been fitted in case of an emergency.
Tyres should only be inflated to the recommended pressure.
WHS Queensland added that younger employees are over-represented in injury statistics in all industries compared to older and more experienced workers and have a different risk profile.
This means younger workers may not perceive when something becomes unsafe and may be less likely to ask questions or raise concerns.
To help this, employers should ensure workers have adequate information, training, instruction and supervision.
Younger workers should follow all reasonable instructions, workplace policies and procedures, not put themselves or workmates at risk; wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed; and report unsafe situations, injuries or near misses to their immediate supervisor and employer.
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