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Working with Wheel Rims and Tire Assemblies

  • Issued: April 2015
  • Content last reviewed: April 2015

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Purpose

To assist employers, workers and other workplace parties in understanding the requirements and hazards involving tire and wheel assemblies under Regulation 854 (Mines and Mining Plants) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Legal requirements

In addition to the general requirements in the OHSA:

Tire and wheel assembly requirements

Section 107.1 of Regulation 854 (Mines and Mining Plants) under the OHSA covers the important requirements.

Requirements from other programs/sectors

Section 110 of Regulation 213 (Construction Projects) under the OHSA covers the important requirements (tire inflation).

Section 77 of Regulation 851 (Industrial Establishments) under the OHSA covers the important requirements (tire inflation).

Background information

Workers are injured or killed every year while handling tires and wheel assemblies at Ontario workplaces.

Incidents can occur when:

  • tires are inflated
  • wheel assemblies and tires are overheated
  • damaged components are improperly repaired and/or used
  • flammable substances are used to seat the bead of a tire

Examples of hazards include a:

  • Sudden and violent spring of the tire lock rings, rims or flanges during a tire inflation resulting in flying objects that can strike nearby workers causing serious injuries or death
  • “Zipper rupture” (failure of a tire sidewall in steel cord radial tires due to corrosion, under-inflation or overloading) resulting in a blast of air during a tire inflation that can hurl tire and wheel assembly pieces at workers, causing injury
  • Tire explosion resulting from flammable gases in products used for seating of a tire bead or repairing punctures and leaks
  • Tire explosion due to “pyrolysis” or chemical decomposition if tires, rims or wheels become heated due to a:
    • vehicle being near or touching a high voltage power line
    • fire caused by overheating of brakes as a result of excessive use or system malfunction
    • torch heating a wheel
    • stud being cut off a wheel or
    • wheel being welded

Definitions

The following terms are not defined in the Mining Regulation. The descriptions are included for general reference purposes:

  • Wheel includes parts such as a rim base, flanges, bead seat band, lock rings and O-ring.
  • Wheel assembly includes a wheel with a bolting flange to attach the wheel and tire to a vehicle.
  • Rim is a part – either a single piece or multi piece -- that supports the tire.
  • Tire is a rubber material that runs on a roadway, propelling a vehicle.

Figure 1: Wheel Rim and Tire

Illustration of a tire and wheel rim.

Acceptable practices

Tire and wheel assembly training

Workers who work with tires and wheel assemblies must be trained to:

  • recognize and understand hazards involving equipment configurations and designs and
  • know the appropriate procedures for working with such equipment.

This requirement for training applies to work involving:

  • installing/removing tires and wheels
  • handling wheels
  • inspecting and repairing tires and wheels
  • inflating and deflating tires
  • assembling multi-piece wheels
  • mounting/demounting tires on wheels
  • inspecting the tires and wheel assemblies

The training should focus on the need for workers to:

  • relieve explosive energy inside tires before performing work on any damaged or overheated wheel assembly or tire
  • stand in a safe location and, if possible, place a tire inside an enclosure to contain any flying pieces or secure tire pieces with a suitable device, such as a safety chain made for this specific purpose
  • deflate and remove any tire that is at 80 per cent or less of a manufacturer’s recommended pressure
  • have a trained person regularly inspect tires and wheel assemblies that are subjected to heavy loads and abuse during service and to safely remove any defective items from service
  • recognize hazards and dangerous work practices to prevent injuries from explosions caused by chemical reactions in tires
  • know how to use manufacturers’ information and tire charts to ensure correct repair parts are installed

Removal of tires/wheel assemblies

Safe practices include:

  • using special demounting procedures to safely remove an inflated tire/wheel assembly, including checking for unusual movements that can indicate damaged wheels
  • taking special precautions if a tire or wheel has known or suspected damage, including:
    • removing all air in a tire before wheel nuts are loosened and
    • removing the valve core and running a wire through the valve system to ensure the valve is not blocked
  • taking special precautions if inside tire or wheel assembly components have obvious or suspected damage, including:
    • always inspecting both tires before removing cap nuts on an outside wheel and
    • fully deflating both tires
  • using extra care when slinging wheel assemblies overhead or when leaving them standing, including:
    • never slinging a tire over another person
    • always securing wheel assemblies
  • preventing broken limbs and musculoskeletal disorders such as strains, sprains when moving large vehicle wheel assemblies that can weigh several hundred pounds and be more than six feet in diameter

Assembly and disassembly of tires and wheel assemblies

This work should only be done by a trained technician following accepted industry practices.

Careful inspection and replacement of worn parts

Safe practices include:

  • cleaning dirt and rust from rim bases and parts, and disassembling and carefully inspecting wheel assemblies whenever they are removed or remounted
  • taking special precautions if damage or metal fatigue is evident, including:
    • conducting a closer examination using non-destructive methods
    • not using parts that are cracked, worn, bent, severely dented, or pitted from corrosion until they meet or exceed the manufacturer’s specifications and tolerances
    • not using components that are weak or do not assemble properly
  • not reworking, welding, heating or brazing any wheel assembly or component to prevent failure of a tire during inflation or while in service, except if the work is being done by the manufacturer or its authorized dealer
  • using new or undamaged parts of the same size and type, as per manufacturers’ specifications
  • providing to workers in the service area current manufacturers’ information on wheel types such as tire charts or rim manuals

Tire inflation

Safe practices include:

  • safely inflating a tire using cages, chains or other means, including using a remote air valve and gauge while standing at a safe location away from the possible trajectory line of wheel components
  • referring to the appropriate regulation for the work being performed or mine / plant type in Mining Regulation Section 107.1(4), Industrial Regulation Section 77 or Construction Regulation Section 110
  • using appropriate protection to keep workers out of the trajectory line of flying lock rings, rims, flanges or tire parts, especially when working on single-piece wheels
  • inflating a tire slowly and carefully while inspecting for proper seating
  • deflating a tire by removing the valve core before any needed adjustments are made
  • using a remote air valve and gauge to enable workers to inflate the tire at a safe location
  • not using flammable gases to seat a tire onto a rim
  • not using a pressure higher than 40 pounds per square inch (psi) to seat beads or side rings, unless higher pressures are recommended by the manufacturer
  • not re-inflating a tire that is flat, been run flat or been run while under-inflated at less than 80 per cent of its recommended pressure, re-inflating only after it has been determined safe to do so.

Overheated tires

Extreme heat can cause a chemical reaction called pyrolysis and a buildup of flammable gases inside a tire. This can be caused by a vehicle or tire coming into contact or near contact with an electrical current from a power line.

Safe practices include:

  • keeping all personnel away from the vehicle’s tires until the vehicle is safely moved out of contact from a power line and the tires are not hazardous to workers.
  • having an operator exit over the front of the vehicle or directly into an adjacent vehicle while avoiding the tires
  • allowing up to several hours for tires to cool, depending on the tire size
  • very cautiously fighting a tire fire using personnel properly trained in the hazards of such work
  • re-inflating an overheated tire after it has sufficiently cooled and been carefully deflated and inspected for damage by the manufacturer or authorized personnel

Resources

The Ontario Trucking Association offers a training program that consists of eight hours of instruction. Certificates are issued to participants who pass a final written examination.

The program covers:

  • inspection of wheel/rim system components
  • out-of-service criteria
  • correct preparation of wheel assembly
  • wheel installation, and
  • torque

Wheel installers work for tire companies and trucking companies. They perform work both in shops and at roadsides.

More information

Toll-free number

Call 1-877-202-0008 any time to report critical injuries, fatalities or work refusals. Call 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday for general questions about workplace health and safety. Always call 911 in an emergency.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.