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A self-employed welder fatally injured during an explosion while welding a rim wheel to repair air leaks.

Massachusetts Department of Health
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 99MA032, 2000 Sep; :1-6
On June 16, 1999, a 34-year-old male self-employed welder (the victim) was fatally injured while attempting to repair leaks in a skid-steer loader rim wheel by welding, and the wheel exploded. Prior to welding, the victim had used multiple 12-ounce cans of a flammable tire sealant/inflator in an unsuccessful attempt to seal holes in the leaking rim wheel. The explosion caused the pressurized tire to be blown off the rim and into the victim propelling both the victim and the tire approximately 15 feet into the air and landing approximately 24 feet away from the skid-steer loader. The owner of the loader and residents of the neighborhood heard the explosion and rushed to assist the victim. A call for emergency assistance was placed and the victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The MA FACE Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, employers including the self-employed should: 1. Never weld or perform other hot work activities on a rim wheel. 2. Only use nonflammable tire sealant/inflator for field repair of leaking rim wheels. 3. Develop a safety program that includes, but is not limited to, evaluating and preventing hazards that might exist before beginning a task. In addition, tire sealant/inflator manufacturers should: 4. Consider the use of only nonflammable propellant for the product.
Region-1; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Welders; Welding; Welding-industry; Flammable-liquids; Safety-programs
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-99MA032; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division