Multi-piece rim and wheel failures have been responsible for numerous deaths, injuries and lost-time accidents in mines, pits and quarries in Ontario. Despite this, workers may not recognize the hazards or the hazards may simply be taken for granted. Incidents often happen during maintenance, when tires are being inflated or removed from vehicles.
In July of 2000, one worker was fatally injured and one was critically injured while inflating the tire on a utility tractor. The tire was mounted on a three piece rim. One of the workers was standing in the path of the trajectory when the tire exploded.
In a similar incident in November of 2000, one mechanic was fatally injured and one critically injured when working to remove an inflated wheel assembly from a haulage truck. The multi-piece rim failed, propelling the tire off the axle and striking the two employees.
Each company should have a program for maintenance on tires and rim. As a minimum, each program should include:
- A risk assessment to identify hazards on each tire and rim assembly.
- An assessment to ensure maintenance and inspection practices are adequate.
- Training and refresher courses for maintenance workers on how to recognize wheel and rim hazards and the proper procedures for wheel and rim assembly removal.
- A procedure to clean and inspect wheel assemblies whenever they are removed from a vehicle.
- Procedures to follow manufacturer’s recommendations when handling tires.
Section 25(2)(d) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act includes the requirements of an employer to acquaint a worker or person with authority over a worker, with any hazard in the workplace. Section 25(2)(a) states an employer shall provide information, instruction, and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker and Section 25(2)(h) states an employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.
Section 107(4) of Regulation 854 for Mines and Mining Plants indicates whenever work is to be performed on an energized rubber tire with a multi-piece wheel, a device shall be used to prevent injury to a worker. Refer to the Ministry of Labour mining guidelines for more details.