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Mining Safety


A self-employed mine worker was fatally injured when struck by a wheel assembly he had fitted and as in the process of inflating.

The assembly consisted of a 7.5 x 16 tyre and a 7.5 x 16 inner tube being fitted onto a 6.75 x 16.5 rim.

It is believed that the inner tube burst and the tyre bead failed on the underside causing a sudden uncontrolled release of compressed air.  This propelled the wheel upward from the ground striking the deceased.

Evidence suggests the tyre was not compatible with the rim.

Preventative Action:
To ensure tyre repairs are carried out safely at an operation, the following actions are recommended.

  • Employees required to undertake tyre-fitting work must be given adequate instruction and training in accordance with Regulation 4.13 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995.
  • Persons engaged in tyre fitting work must ensure the tyre being fitted is the correct size and compatible with the rim.  
  • All light vehicle or industrial tyres that have just been mounted onto a rim must be inflated inside a tyre cage.  Personnel should stand to one side of the wheel during inflation.
  • During the inflation process the tyre pressure should be regularly monitored using a suitable pressure gauge.
  • Tyres must never be inflated beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Damaged tyres that are no longer serviceable should be discarded and not reused.

Tyre Explosions

tyre explosionDefinitions, Mechanisms, Prevention, Procedures

Explosions vs Blowouts

  • Causes of explosion
  • Explosion mechanism
  • Uncertainties & Misconceptions
  • Emergency procedures

What is a Tyre Explosion

  • Blowout (impact failure)
    • Rock cut, shock burst
    • Air pressure, no chemical reaction
    • 150 psi
  • Chemical reaction
    • Ignition of explosive vapour
    • Shock wave, flame front
    • 1,000+ psi

View the Otraco Tyre Blowouts presentation

Boost Earthmover tyre and rim safety

Tyres, rims and wheel assemblies are safety-critical items! They must be maintained and used correctly if people’s lives are not to be placed at risk.

Critical maintenance aspects include:

  • Selection: The key to safe tyre performance is the correct selection of tyres. In consultation with the tyre manufacturer, it is vital to choose tyres that suit the operating conditions at the mine.
  • Pressure: To maintain any tyre in a safe and serviceable condition, there must be a system for checking and recording tyre pressures. Where tyres are mounted as duals, there must be ready access to the inner valve system so that pressure readings can be obtained for analysis.
  • Records: If tyre pressures are recorded systematically, leaking or damaged tyres can be readily identified and removed before they become a hazard.

Be on the lookout for the following risk factors:

  • Bursting or exploding tyres and disintegration of pressurised tyre/rim assemblies during operation or maintenance. Serious injury, even death, can result from tyre bubbles, ‘hot’ tyres, tyre damage affecting the integrity of the tyre, and incorrectly fitted or damaged lock rings or other rim components.
  • Poor training in tyre and rim maintenance. Ensure required training and refresher training for onsite tyre service personnel and line supervisors is provided only be reputable training organisations that are experienced in tyre and rim maintenance.
  • Sudden disintegration of pressurised tyre and rim assemblies. This is the main cause of fatalities among tyre service personnel and bystanders. Typical root causes include earthmover rims undergoing punishing dynamic loading cycles during their operation that can result in metal fatigue and general deterioration of the assembly. The combination of compromised rim integrity with failure to deflate the tyre before removing assembly can be fatal.
  • Human fatigue.  This can cause slips and lapses of concentration.
  • Unsuitable tyre-handling equipment and tyre maintenance equipment. Structural integrity and serviceability of tyre-handling equipment can be achieved through inspections, structural examinations and preventive maintenance by competent maintenance personnel.
  • Incorrect tyre inflation. Tyre inflation should be detailed in the site’s procedures and occur in an engineered and certified tyre-inflation cage; or where that is not possible, tyre inflation equipment should enable the tyre service personnel to stand well clear and to the side of the tyre, controlling the inflation through a remote shut-off valve and pressure gauge attachment.

Lightning strikes stationary truck

A large rear dump truck (RDT) was struck by lightning while stationary and unattended. Luckily, no employees or personnel were injured.  However, three tyres were blown off the truck between 2 to 5 minutes after the lightning strike. Furthermore, two tyres exploded (position 1 and 3) on the driver’s side of the truck, sending debris several hundred metres from the vehicle and causing extensive damage to the truck and other equipment.

Upon investigation position 1 tyre (driver’s side front) showed evidence of earthing through this tyre, and it is believed the lightning earthed through no. 1 and no. 3 position tyres.

A lengthier investigation to determine the energy released by the exploding tyres and the lightning strike is currently underway.


All mines should be aware of potential risks associated with mobile plant in electrical storms with special consideration given to:

  • Distance and time of exclusion zone from a suspect heating tyre.
  • Park-up procedures and locations around buildings.
  • Develop a Lightning Management Plan.
  • Review existing emergency procedures.

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