The State Coroner, David Whittle, has recently recorded a finding that a man died of ‘severe traumatic brain injury’, which he sustained on his farming property when using a compressor to inflate a tyre fitted to a multi-piece rim.
The tyre exploded and a piece of the rim struck him in the head.
The cause and circumstances of the man’s death were clear and the State Coroner determined, following consultation with the man’s family, that an inquest would not be held.
The State Coroner has issued a warning about the danger of inflating tyres fitted on multi-piece or split rims.
A Safe Work Australia publication, General Guide for Split Rims, (see link below), states, ‘Every year people are killed or seriously injured when inflating a pneumatic tyre or removing a split rim assembly from a vehicle. Even an exploding wheelbarrow split rim has been known to cause fatal injuries.’
It explained the main hazard is the uncontrolled releasing of compressed air from the tyre rim assembly and the compressed air propelling parts of the tyre, wheel or rim at significant speed.
Possible hazards when interacting with split rims are stated to include, ‘incorrectly fitted parts, damaged or mismatched parts, damage by corrosion, wear, deformations and cracks, tyre defects, confusing wheel assembly bolts with bolts used to attach a wheel to the vehicle, over inflation and pyrolysis.
Employers are obliged to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other people are not exposed to health and safety risks.
Appropriate safety precautions must be taken when inflating tyres, particularly on split or multi-piece rims, in workplaces.
These may include inflating tyres in purpose-built safety cages and using a long compressor hose which can be remotely controlled, so the operator is well clear.
Split vehicle rims and multipiece rims are not uncommon in private applications particularly in older recreational four-wheel-drive vehicles and on machinery operated on private properties.
Private operators are urged to be mindful of the danger of injury from such wheel assemblies and to avoid inflation while facing, or close to, the wheel and tyre.
Photo for illustration purpose only