The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum has issued a safety bulletin following a number of serious injuries in the state involving heavy earthmoving equipment tyres.
According to the Department, there is growing concern about the safety of the tyres and the operation of tyre handling machinery.
There have been seven fatalities involving tyres at various mines in the Australasian region in the past few years, including one in Western Australia in 2008.
An independent study of some 82 tyre accident events between 1987 and 2008 revealed that 33% resulted in a fatality, 50% had the potential to cause a fatality, 9% caused serious injury, while the rest caused significant damage.
“Clearly, earthmoving equipment tyres, rims and wheel assemblies must be regarded as safety critical items that need to be maintained by competent persons in accordance with documented systems of work,” the Department said.
The report found that workers were often not fully trained or properly assessed on their understanding of the equipment.
The document recommended that operators receive formal training and assessment prior to work commencing.
It also recommended that companies set up proper workshops with safety facilities and develop comprehensive work procedures.