Foxleigh mine worker killed by tyre explosion, hearing finds

A coronial inquest in Queensland has heard a man died at Anglo American’s Foxleigh mine due to a “zipper failure” which caused a tyre to explode.

Wayne Robert MacDonald, 53, was killed at the mine in 2010 after changing a tyre on a trailer attached to a prime mover.

MacDonald was working as a truck operator for Brisbane-based company LCR, a position he had held for over four years.

The inquest heard MacDonald inflated the replacement tyre to 110psi, Daily Mercury reported.

He was still under the trailer when the replacement tyre exploded after being lowered to the ground.

John Aberdeen, Counsel assisting Central Queensland Coroner David O'Connell, said the "inner side wall of the inside tyre" failed in what was called a "zipper failure".

The tear in the side wall "was sudden and catastrophic" resulting in a "powerful torrent of air" escaping, he said.

MacDonald suffered the full force to his chest and upper body and died at the scene.

As part of an investigation by the Mines Inspectorate, the tyres of four prime movers at Foxleigh mine were examined.

Lead investigator John Slade said there was "a great deal of confusion" from workers at the site as to the correct tyre pressure level.

A range of figures were assumed including 100, 110, 120, 125 and 130psi with the inquest hearing any over or under inflation of tyres can compromise safety.

Slade said he did not examine the pressure of the tyre of the vehicle involved in the incident following MacDonald’s death.

He said a forensic examination of the failed tyre showed a previous slow leak repair and the zipper failure were not connected.

MacDonald’s wife, Pam, said her husband was "let down by his employers".

"Wayne was hard-working, nothing was too much trouble, he loved life and he was my life," a read out at the inquest said.

"The pain and hurt I've to deal with and (am) still dealing with cannot be put into words and I just hope it doesn't take another fatality for changes to continue.

"If something good has to come out of all of this for those who work in the industry, then I feel Wayne's life has not been wasted."

The coroner asked Dunlop, Anglo American, LCR and the CFMEU to submit agreed recommendations by June 20.

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