Tyre explosion seriously injures worker

A tyre maintenance company has been fined after a tyre exploded seriously injuring a worker.

Nottingham Crown Court heard an employee of Tyre Maintenance Limited went to the waste and recycling centre in Beeston on 24 September to replace tyres on an excavator. It was during the process of removing two split rim tyres from the vehicle, that there was a violent explosion of the inner of the two wheels on the front nearside of the vehicle.
The explosion pushed the outside tyre off with such force it propelled the tyre fitter into a metal fence over two metres behind and he suffered significant injuries, including a serious head injury, from which he is still recovering.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found the split rim had separated and was only being held in place by the opposing tyre. When the fitter removed the last wheel nut on the outside tyre it allowed the rim to separate causing the explosion. There were inadequate risk assessments and safe systems of work in place to deal with the specific risks from split rims, and the company could not demonstrate adequate arrangements for assessing competence, providing training and ensuring the company’s mobile tyre fitters were able to work safely.

Tyre Maintenance Limited, of Gelderd Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £134,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,582.00.

Speaking after the case HM Inspector Lyn Spooner said

“This accident reaffirms the significant risks posed by working with split rim tyres. This accident could have been avoided simply by instructing employees to fully deflate the tyres before removing them from the vehicle.

“The Company failed to ensure a proper risk assessment was carried out which would not only have distinguished the risk of split rims from other types of tyres but would also have indicated the need to deflate tyres before removing them from the vehicle.

“Arrangements in place to protect employees were clearly inadequate and as a result, a serious accident occurred that nearly cost an experienced fitter his life.”