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A Queensland worker was tragically killed earlier this month after being struck in the face by an exploding wheel and tyre.

The situation highlights the importance of safety and employee education within the workplace. Furthermore it highlights the shared responsibility we have to ensure all staff go home safely every day.

“Initial inquiries indicate that the worker attempted to weld up a small leak in the truck wheel, whilst the tyre was still pressurised,” WorkSafe Qld said.

“The welding appears to have caused an internal combustion blowing the wheel off the tyre. The wheel hit the worker, killing him instantly, before travelling 5.5 metres into the air, going through the roof and landing some 23 metres away.

“The wheel was a single piece design, not a split or multi-piece rim.”

Preventing a similar incident

Workers have been seriously injured or killed by blasted parts of a tyre and rim assembly or by the force of the sudden release of air pressure. Injuries have included permanent damage to hearing and eyesight.

Truck tyres are significantly larger and are designed to operate under higher pressure than regular car tyres, increasing the risk associated with an exploding tyre.

There are no circumstances under which maintenance should be carried out on a wheel while it has a tyre mounted on it under pressure, particularly any type of welding or wheel repair. Before any work is carried out on a wheel, you must ensure that the tyre has been completely de-pressurised by deflating the tyre and removing the core from the valve stem. Tyres should also be removed from the wheel to prevent damage during the repair.

Never underestimate safety in the workplace.