Death by truck tyre – why Brisbane firms should use tyre specialists

Keep your workers safe and your firm financially fit

If there is one thing that Brisbane businesses must do, it is to keep their workers safe. It’s not only the law, it’s good business practice. Ensuring you use tyre specialists to fix and fit tyres to your trucks is a good move. It could save you tens of thousands in fines and injury compensation claims, and your people will thank you for keeping them safe.

Wheels and tyres – an explosive combination in the wrong hands

They may appear to be inert, inanimate objects, but in the wrong hands, tyres and wheel rims can morph into highly explosive devices. Between 2012 and 2017, there were 17 cases of tyre and rim explosions reported to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. Eight of these led to hospitalisation. One caused a death.

It’s clear that such accidents can cause a loss of productivity. They can reduce morale in the workplace and workers’ confidence in management. They can drastically alter lives, working relationships, and family bonds. They can ruin reputations and cost a small fortune in compensation and fines.

How much could poor tyre maintenance cost you in Queensland?

Between 2012 and 2017, there were five companies prosecuted for such tyre maintenance accidents. There were also 21 compensation claims paid to workers for tyre explosions. The law says that a company can be fined as much as $10 million for such an offence. Individuals can be jailed for up to 20 years. And the courts are getting tougher. Fines are increasing:

  • In 2008, a worker was left with a fractured jaw and lacerations when a tyre exploded while being inflated. The company was fined $8,000.
  • In 2007, a company was fined $50,000 when a worker was struck by an exploding wheel and tyre that he was working on. The worker was killed.
  • In 2012, a tyre exploded and left a worker with a broken nose, thumb and arm. The worker also required surgery for lacerations. The company was fined $50,000.
  • In 2014, two workers were injured while fitting and inflating a tyre on a truck. The rim was damaged, and this helped cause the tyre to explode. The company chose to avoid prosecution by entering into an enforceable undertaking with a minimum payment of more than $207,000.

The trajectory of fines and payments shows that it probably won’t be long before a company that is found negligent in its tyre maintenance procedures is fined a million dollars and more.

How do you prevent tyre maintenance accidents?

Because truck tyres are bigger than other tyres, the danger of them exploding is magnified. In October last year, a worker was killed when he was trying to weld a leak in it while it was still pressurised. The tyre exploded, killed him instantly, and burst through the roof before it landed 23 metres away. Here are some tips to make sure you avoid a similar accident:

  • Never work on a wheel with a pressurised tyre mounted on it.
  • Always remove a tyre from the rim if you are working on the rim.
  • Among specific rules and regulations, you must ensure that:
    • A safe working system is in place
    • The wheel is properly inspected for damage and wear and tear before fitting tyres
    • Tyres are properly inspected for defects
    • You have identified potential tyre explosion trajectory zones, and these are kept clear while tyres and wheels are being worked on
    • The air hose is long enough to allow workers to remain outside of this exclusion zone
    • A remote dump valve is fitted to allow rapid deflation in an emergency
  • Ensure the wheel is adequately secured before inflating. Use of a tyre cage will prevent the tyre from being ejected, should it explode.

The most important piece of advice we can give, and which is also a point of health and safety law in Queensland, is that workers must be trained and competent to work on wheels and tyres.

For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, that will ensure you comply with Health and Safety regulations, keep your workers safe, and help your bottom line numbers, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.