In December 2007, a male equipment operator was fatally injured by a metal lock ring propelled from a multi-piece wheel tire assembly he was inflating. The victim was employed by an excavating and snow removal company. At the time of the incident, he and a co-worker were getting their loaders ready to remove snow from a shopping mall parking lot. Soon after he started his loader, the victim noticed that his left front tire mounted on a multi-piece wheel was "soft"(under-inflated). The multi-piece rim wheel referring to the tire assembly consisted of six components: the rim base, valve assembly, tire, side ring, O-ring and lock ring. The function of the lock ring was to hold the tire in place by locking and securing the other wheel components when the tire was inflated. The victim asked the co-worker, whose loader had an air compressor, to put air in the tire. The initial tire pressure was not checked. The co-worker connected one end of an air hose to the quick-connect fitting on the air compressor and the clip-on chuck at the other end to the valve stem of the tire. The co-worker then went to his loader's cab and used the throttle control to maintain the airflow. The air hose did not have an in-line pressure gauge. The victim checked the air pressure at the tire valve with a hand-held pressure gauge periodically as the tire was being inflated. The maximum cold tire inflation pressure specified by the tire manufacturer was 35 pounds per square inch (psi). After a few minutes, the victim informed the co-worker that the air pressure in the tire was about 15 to 20 psi. This was well below the 80% of the manufacturer recommended pressure. Under such tire pressure, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires the tire to be completely deflated, and the tire assembly to be dismounted from the vehicle, disassembled, inspected and reassembled prior to inflation. The co-worker told the victim not to let the pressure exceed 30 psi. As the victim continued inflating the tire, the co-worker placed a phone call from his cab to the owner of the company. As soon as he hung up the phone, the co-worker heard a loud noise. He ran to where the victim was and saw the victim lying on the ground with head injuries. The victim apparently was struck in the head by the lock ring that was propelled from the tire assembly. The co-worker immediately notified a mall security staff who called 911. Emergency medical services arrived within minutes. The victim was airlifted to a trauma center where he died two days later. New York State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (NY FACE) investigators concluded that to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, employers should: 1.) develop, implement and enforce a standard operating procedure (SOP) for inflating multi-piece rim wheels that requires that only trained workers service or inflate multi-piece rim wheels; 2.) ensure that all equipment operators receive training and demonstrate competency on the SOP as well as the safety hazards and precautions associated with inflating a multi-piece rim wheel; and 3.) provide an air hose that has an in-line pressure gauge and sufficient hose between the in-line pressure gauge and the clip-on chuck to allow workers to stay outside the trajectory of wheel parts when inflating a tire.
Region-2; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Traumatic-injuries;
Author Keywords: split rim wheel; multi-piece rim wheel; inflating tire; lock ring; front-end loader; equipment operator