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EXCAVATOR TYRE EXPLODED DURING MAINTENANCE

Peripatetic tyre fitter lucky to escape with his life

Tyre Maintenance Limited has been fined £134,000 after a tyre exploded seriously injuring a worker in September 2014.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how the fitter visited premises in Beeston to replace tyres on an excavator. It was during the process of removing two split rim tyres from the vehicle that a “violent explosion of the inner of the two wheels on the front near side of the vehicle” occurred.

The explosion propelled the tyre fitter 2m into a metal fence causing suffered significant injuries, including a serious head injury, from which he is still recovering.

HSE investigators found the split rim had separated and was only being held in place by the opposing tyre. When the fitter removed the last wheel nut on the outside tyre it allowed the rim to separate causing the explosion.

There were inadequate risk assessments and safe systems of work in place to deal with the specific risks from split rims, and the company could not demonstrate adequate arrangements for assessing competence, providing training and ensuring the fitters were able to work safely.

Full tyre deflation required

Tyre Maintenance Limited, of Leeds, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £134,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £22,582.00.

Speaking after the case HM Inspector Lyn Spooner said

“This accident reaffirms the significant risks posed by working with split rim tyres. This accident could have been avoided simply by instructing employees to fully deflate the tyres before removing them from the vehicle.

The Company failed to ensure a proper risk assessment was carried out which would not only have distinguished the risk of split rims from other types of tyres but would also have indicated the need to deflate tyres before removing them from the vehicle.

Arrangements in place to protect employees were clearly inadequate and as a result, a serious accident occurred that nearly cost an experienced fitter his life.”

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