An incident occurred at a packed products site involving a redundant JCB loading shovel that had been sold via E-auction to a third party. An employee of the third party company (“the injured person – IP”), which now owned the loading shovel, arrived on-site with a low loader to collect the machine. The IP was a 46 year old male who was an experienced low loader driver.
The loading shovel required three of the four tyres to be inflated before it could be driven onto the low loader. The IP reversed the tractor unit up to the loading shovel and attached an airline to the on-board compressor to inflate the tyres.
Having inflated the rear offside tyre, the IP started inflating the front offside tyre. As pressure in the tyre increased, it was forced off the wheel hub and the sealing/locking ring was projected off the wheel hub, striking the IP.
Site first aid attended to the IP and the emergency services were called. The IP was airlifted to hospital for treatment and subsequently transferred to a second hospital for emergency surgery. Sadly, he died later in hospital from his injuries.
Investigation of the incident revealed the following:
- Tyre was being inflated using the tractor unit on-board compressor and an airline that did not have any gauge, remoteoperating controls or any way of regulating pressure.
- Tyres were being inflated from flat whilst still attached to the machine and no restraints used.
- The IP had positioned himself in an area of danger.
LEARNING POINTS / ACTIONS TAKEN
- Only competent staff must undertake work on tyres.
- Any maintenance on tyres and wheels must be subject to a risk assessment and must be conducted in accordance with adocumented safe working procedure.
- Safe working procedures must ensure at all times during inflation that only authorised persons are permitted in the work area and the individual conducting the inflation remains a minimum of 3m to the side of the tyre area to ensure they are clear of the trajectory zone should the tyre explode or a fault occur.
- Inflation equipment should be fitted with a guage, remote controls and/or some way of regulating pressure.
- Some organisations require that if the tyre has lost 10% or more of the recommended pressure a specialist contractor mustbe engaged to inspect, repair and inflate the tyre as required.
- Ensure all relevant employees and contractors are aware of your company’s guidelines for the inflation of tyres.
- Please see the HSE leaflet on ‘Safety during tyre inflation in motor vehicle repair’ which contains notes on good practice which are not compulsory but which you may find helpful in considering what you need to do.