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Fatal accident during maintenance on multipiece vehicle wheel with pneumatic tyres

Most tyre explosions and disintegration of multipiece wheels occur during re-inflation of the tyre and refitting of the wheel. There have been a few occasions where explosions and disintegration actually occur during deflation of the tyre and the removal of the wheel from the vehicle. The following information results from one such event which resulted in the death of a maintenance fitter.

Introduction

A maintenance fitter was critically injured when removing a multipiece wheel from an industrial lift truck. The vehicle had dual wheels on the front axle fitted with pneumatic tyres with tubes and liners. The dual wheel assembly was fixed to the hub with clamp type bolts

Neither tyre from the dual assembly was deflated prior to the commencement of removal from the vehicle. One or both inner tubes exploded during the latter stages of undoing the clamping bolts, resulting in the wheel assembly striking the deceased.

What do I need to do?

Make sure vehicle and tyre fitters can recognise different wheel constructions and are aware of the risks associated with the different types, that they are properly trained and have the correct equipment available.

Use a safe system of work for multipiece wheel removal

Check and Maintain Rims, Wheel Components & Tyres

Ensure that multipiece wheels with pneumatic tyres are maintained in an efficient state and are in good working order.

If safety critical defects are identified the wheel/tyre should be withdrawn from use. You should not attempt to repair a wheel as repairs to wheels and their components can affect the strength and integrity of the assembly. It is recommended that you refer back to the original manufacturers when considering any wheel repairs.

Use a safe system of work for re-inflation of Pneumatic Tyres

Inflating pneumatic tyres can be dangerous.

Other Wheel Types

There are other types of wheels fitted to industrial vehicles (e.g. split wheels (also known as divided wheels), drop centre rims) Tyres fitted to split wheels should always be fully deflated before removal from the vehicle.

Further information on the safety of these other wheel types (as well as multipiece wheels) can be found in Paragraphs 135 to 155 of HSG261 Health and safety in motor vehicle repair and associated industries or in INDG433 Safety during tyre inflation in motor vehicle repair.

References

Updated 2016-11-26