Another worker has been killed by an exploding tyre at a Queensland mine, the latest in a string of similar fatalities.
This is always a risk?
these giant earth-mover tyres have to be fitted with huge machines and with care.
From Car tyres to Earth-mover tyres
Believe it or not this was to be only my second move from the car tyre industry. I had worked for the Dunlop retail outlet of National tyres then for about six years and was ready for a move. I did not want to leave the industry that I loved so well, but do to a disagreement with my manager at the time; a chance came my way to learn about the giant earth-mover tyres that were appearing all over the country and the Giant Earth-movers that they were fitted to.
In Yorkshire, industry was booming, we had a vibrant coal mining industry as well as the steel making in Sheffield and the north east, Middlesboro was famous for the big kilns for smelting metals. They were also a surge to build new motorways including the east to west motorway the M62, over the Pennine hills.
This required massive earth-moving machines, some had tracks fitted, similar to army tanks, but many of them were fitted with giant tyres. I remember my first few days, and I was very nervous, but also keen to learn. The first job I had was in the reception, doing a similar job to the one at my previous employment. I was desperate to learn more about these giant tyres, they were the same as a car tyre, but on a much larger scale. We also had to fit tyres to the world’s largest earth-mover at the time in the Welsh coal fields.
The big difference was the way that they were fitted to the machine. I asked my new boss if I could be a tyre fitter and learn as much as I could about these earth-mover tyres. The boss gave me the thumbs up, but the first thing I had to do was to pass my heavy goods vehicle test as large trucks are needed for transporting and fitting these tyres.
I was paid to take a week’s lessons followed by the test, I always have thought that I was a good driver and after a week’s lessons I passed the test. My boss and I were both over the moon and it was not too long before I teamed up with another experienced and qualified Earth-Mover tyres fitter.
Safety is a huge aspect of earth-mover tyre fitting
I was very impressed at the methodical way these tyres were fitted, on some machines such as the Caterpillar 631 box scrapers; we removed and fitted the huge tyres on the machine itself. On the huge Terex dumper trucks, we would take a wheel and tyre that we had previously built up and change the wheel using the Hiab lifting equipment that we had fitted to the truck. These were the bee’s knees for maneuvering the giant wheels from and onto the giant trucks.
The time passed quickly and I soon began to be the main fitter in a two man team, going all over the UK to fit these giant earth-mover tyres. The one thing that I was impressed with was the safety aspect of the job. Fitting car tyres was relatively easy and you just have to watch your hands and feet, but the earth-mover tyre fitting was a much more disciplined procedure and no risks were taken. We would have massive blocks of hardwood chocks to prop up the machine in case a problem occurred when the wheel was off.
We used nitrogen bottles to inflate and seal the tyres once they were fitted and these would be fully checked and tested all the time. I never had or saw a single accident, in the five years that were to be the best years of my life, I loved the job, it was man’s work and I was as fit as a fiddle and brown as a berry with working outdoors all the time.
This is what I could not believe when I read the story about the guy who was killed fitting the Earth-Mover tyres. Any accident or death is a tragedy, but it made me recall how cautious we were and safety was a number one priority. I wish the guys family all the best and hope they can accept my condolences.
Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Pirelli Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.