Worker’s fingers amputated in truck maintenance accident

A tyre fitter’s fingers have been partially amputated after an accident while operating a hydraulic bead breaker.

The incident, which occurred in April, happened whilst a tyre fitter was positioning a hydraulic bead breaker in preparation for breaking an inner tyre bead on a water cart at a West Australian mine.

He was holding the bead breaker in his right hand and the remote control pendant for the power pack in his left.

The worker then tried to gain extra length on the pendant control by pulling it over the power pack.

“This action activated the hydraulic power pack, either by knocking the pump toggle switch to the ‘on’ position or depressing the pump ‘on’ button on the pendant,” the West Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum said.

“The sliding section of the bead breaker was set in motion and crushed three fingers on his right hand, resulting in partial amputations.”

According to the DMP report, the direct causes of the incident were the tyre fitter inserting his fingers into the sliding section of the hydraulic bead breaker, exposing them to moving parts; and the power pack being energised with the control valve lever in the ‘advance’ position while the equipment was being positioned for operation.

It went on to state a lack of guarding which could have prevented inadvertent contact with moving parts – as well as a lack of labelling warning of nip or crush points – contributed to the incident.

The DMP added that the equipment’s design does not encourage the correct positioning of hands nor restrict access to moving parts, and that work instructions did not outline the controls for all hazards associated with the task.

It recommended a number of actions to stop similar incidents occurring, including identifying hazards associated with the operation of the equipment, documenting practical measures to reduce exposure, ensuring hydraulic equipment is not energised while being positioned for the task, and assessing worker competency.

 

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