Workers Subject to Severe Injuries Caused by Explosions at Tire-Servicing Jobs in Asheville, Elsewhere

Workers who service single-piece and multiple-piece rim wheels for large tires are probably more at risk of a tire servicing-related work accident in Greensboro or elsewhere than you may realize. There are enough incidents nationwide to make the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recognize the issue, making an announcement of their efforts to update materials and revise tire charts to help keep workers safe as they service large tires.
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Safety News Alert recently gave four examples of workers killed or injured while handling large vehicle tires. In the first example, one death and four injuries occurred at a metal factory in Kentucky when a tire exploded while employees were trying to fuse a rim to a large tire. In a second example, a worker from New Jersey was killed while trying to put air in a re-treaded tractor-trailer tire. The tire exploded while he was trying to check the air pressure causing the worker to die from multiple blunt trauma injuries. A Maine employee was seriously injured in the third example. The Bath Iron Works employee was changing a tire at a shipyard when it exploded and caused severe facial trauma. The final example provides a video on You Tube of a worker being killed by the blast of a tire exploding right underneath him.

Asheville workers’ compensation lawyers understand that large tires on tractor-trailers, machinery used in shipyards and large farm equipment are subject to wear and tear and need replacing. We hope that employers take note of the new materials presented by OSHA and train their employees accordingly.

OSHA reports there are roughly 322,000 workers who service large vehicle tires at over 100,000 job sites nationwide. Employees can be injured when pressurized air is suddenly released by the bead breaking or slipping in single-piece rim wheel accidents. The pressurized air has enough force to throw an employee across the room or cause the rim wheel to propel at a trajectory that could be dangerous for anyone standing nearby. Actions during a multiple-piece rim wheel accident cause the wheel components to separate and release, also with violent force enough to cause blunt trauma injuries to a worker.

Employers must train employees to prevent injury by using the following safe operating procedures on single-piece rim wheels:

-The valve core must be removed and the tire completely deflated before demounting.

-The tire must be mounted and demounted only from the narrow ledge side of the wheel.

-Use caution to prevent damaging the beads while mounting and dismounting.

-Unless otherwise instructed by the wheel manufacturer, the bead and wheel mating surfaces must be greased with a nonflammable rubber lubricant before assembling the rim wheel.

-A restraining device should be used to inflate the tire when it is positioned behind a barrier or is bolted on the vehicle with tightened lug nuts.

-Heat should never be applied to a single-piece wheel.

-When a tire is being inflated, all workers should steer clear of the trajectory.

-Never attempt to weld, rework or braze a cracked, bent, broken or otherwise defective wheel.

Employers and workers should visit the website for more information about OSHA’s Revised Tire Charts.

The North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Lee Law Offices, P.A. work hard to protect the rights of injured workers and their families. If you need a free no-obligation appointment to discuss the details of a tire servicing-related injury or claim, call 1-877-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
New OSHA guidance seeks to limit deaths/injuries from servicing tires, by Fred Hosier, Safety News Alert.

More Blog Entries:
Machinery Accidents Common Cause of Injury or Death in North Carolina Farming Industry, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2011.

Auto Repairs in Winston-Salem, Elsewhere Present a High Risk for Injury and Potential Death, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, November 10, 2011.

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