Risk of Explosion during Removal of Split Rim/Multi Piece Wheels from Vehicles

locking_ringFollowing a recent incident, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is issuing an urgent warning to owners, plant operators and tyre fitters with regard to the handling and repair of multipiece or split rim wheels.

Split rim wheels are different from standard one piece wheels. Spilt rims are multi-piece wheels, where the tyre is held in place by a locking ring. Split rims are not normally used on cars or light vehicles. They are however found on a number of larger vehicle types. This type of wheel configuration is commonly associated with lorries, tractors, forklifts, and other heavy vehicles used in the construction and mining sectors.

A failure to put in place the necessary safety control measures when working with split rim and multi piece wheels can give rise to serious hazards, as there is a risk of failure of the multipiece wheels. Failure of multipiece (Split Rim) wheels can result in violent separation, the explosive release of high pressure air and the ejection of component parts. The rapid release of explosive force from a ruptured tyre / tube or violent separation of the component parts of the wheel can result in serious injuries including fatalities.

Machine owners should familiarise themselves with the type of tyre / wheel assembly fitted to their equipment and ensure that machine operators and maintenance personnel are aware of the necessary safety control measures that they must put in place to eliminate/reduce the risk of serious injury arising from the hazards of working with multi-piece wheels.

When removing split rim or multi piece wheels from your vehicle;

  • Use a safe system of work
  • Before beginning any work on a multipiece rim, inspect the tyre and wheel assembly for damage or incorrectly fitted parts. If there is damage or incorrectly fitting parts it may be necessary to put additional control measures in place
  • Divided or Split Wheels should always be fully deflated before removal from the vehicle. It is best practice in all situations to deflate pneumatic tyres prior to beginning removal of the wheels from the vehicle in order to reduce or eliminate the risk of explosion
  • Deflate the tyres, both tyres in a dual assembly, by removing the valve core. Ensure the tyre is completely deflated before removing the wheel from the axle
  • Limit exposure to the danger / trajectory zone until the tyre is deflated. Stand to the side and out of the way in case of a sudden disassembly.
One wheel from a dual multi piece wheel fitted to an excavator
One wheel from a dual multi piece wheel fitted to an excavator
A dual multi piece assembly on an excavator
A dual multi piece assembly on an excavator

Article by HSA.ie