Working with wheel rims and tire assemblies
Learn the legal requirements and best practices for wheel rims and tire assemblies.
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This guideline was developed for workplace parties to assist with understanding the requirements and hazards involving tire and wheel assemblies in Regulation 854 – Mines and Mining Plants under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
This resource does not replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations and should not be used as or considered legal advice. Health and safety inspectors apply and enforce these laws based on the facts they find in the workplace.
In addition to the general requirements in the OHSA, note the following.
Tire and wheel assembly requirements
Section 107.1 of Regulation 854 under the OHSA covers the important requirements.
Requirements from other programs and sectors
Section 110 of Regulation 213/91 – Construction Projects/91 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).
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 uncontrolled release 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
- The employer is required to conduct a risk assessment for the purpose of identifying, assessing and managing hazards and potential hazards that may expose a worker to injury or illness. Section 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of Regulation 854 under the OHSA sets out the requirements to conduct a risk assessment that will aid in the application of the regulations in minimizing the specific hazards at an employer’s workplace.
The following terms are not defined in Regulation 854. 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
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
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
- referencing the appropriate regulation for the work being performed at a mine or mining plant applying mining regulation section 107.1(4), if at an industrial site applying the industrial regulation section 77 and if at a construction project applying the 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 accurate air pressure 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.
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
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
Wheel installers work for tire companies and trucking companies. They perform work both in shops and at roadsides.
Always call 911 in an emergency.