Australasian Mine Safety

April 2022

Australasian Mine Safety

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64 AU ST R A L AS I A N M I N E SA F E T Y J O U R N A L / APRIL 2022 / I nstalling or removing an ultra-class tyre and wheel assembly has always had the potential to be one of the most dangerous tasks on a mine, but a new tool developed by Kal Tire's Mining Tire Group is taking technicians out of harm's way. The final moments of removing an ultra-class tyre and wheel assembly can be tense: To manually remove the final four wheel nuts, the technician must step between the tyre handler and the assembly, which, itself, weighs more than 8,000 kilograms and spans twice his height. He then steps under the arms of the tyre handler, walks far away from the cab and watches the tyre handler grip and dismount the assembly. He is safe. But what if the handler operator were still in the cab and hit the wrong lever at the wrong moment? What if the technician slipped as the handler approached? What if the wheel nuts loosened before the technician had a chance to get out of the way? "This is a high risk zone, having a team member between the handler attachment and the wheel assembly, and there's no getting away from that," says Miles Rigney, Kal Tire's Mining Tire Group Australia vice president. "To remove those last couple of nuts, somebody has to be in that high risk zone." A solution is on the way. In a field still very much driven by hands- on work around the wheel that inherently carries risk, Kal Tire's Innovation Centre in western Canada designs and develops mining tyre management tools that improve safety and efficiency. "We feel we have a responsibility to leverage our international footprint and expertise to look for ways to improve safety and efficiency outcomes for our teams and our customers," says Rigney, of the work being done at the Innovation Centre, which researches, engineers and manages the manufacturing of practical safety tooling ideas that come from the field. Over the years, the Innovation Centre has developed exclusive and patented tools such as the Gravity Assist System, which supports the weight of 36-kg torque guns; a Ram Mount Tool which securely holds the bead in place; and a Power Cart that allows technicians to stand at a safe distance to operate multiple hydraulic rams and bead breakers using high energy to separate the tyre from the rim. Each tool changes the way a step has been performed for decades, protecting team members from risk and creating efficiencies in surprisingly practical ways—even for remote mine sites with some of the world's largest equipment and most limited energy sources. "Thirty years ago, there was no protection other than PPE if a tyre was to fall on you," says Rigney. "When I started out, I had a hard hat and gloves." Australia was not alone in seeing fatalities occur at this high risk step of installing and removing ultra- class tyre and wheel assemblies. In pursuit of reduced risk came a hierarchy of controls. At the bottom of the hierarchy is PPE. Next came the introduction of administrative controls: technicians followed enhanced safe work procedures. Fall arrest arms were an engineering control to offer protection if the assembly came loose. Later, isolation controls saw operators removed from the tyre handler so the equipment was isolated while the technician removed the final nuts. Finally, at the top of the hierarchy of controls is elimination. "That's what the Innovation Centre was striving to achieve," says Rigney. The question driving their work was: How can we eliminate risk and take the team member out of harm's way?" UNVEILING A SAFE WAY TO RELEASE WHEEL NUTS At MINExpo in Las Vegas last fall, Kal Tire unveiled the Magnet Clamp. The video demonstrating how the tool works begins with a panel on the left of the current process, in which a tyre technician enters the area between KAL TIRE'S MAGNET CLAMP ELIMINATES RISK

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