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Death by exploding tyre may be linked

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A coronial inquest into the death of a man by tyre explosion has found that workers were confused about correct tyre pressures.

In his investigation of the accident, mines inspector John Slade said that there was “some confusion” at Anglo-American’s Foxleigh Mine, as truck tyres were being filled to different air pressures, with employees measuring different pressures including 100, 110, 120, 125 and 130psi in four different prime movers. 

Wayne Robert MacDonald was killed while changing a tyre on the 18th of December 2010.

MacDonald was lying in the gap between the wheels under the trailer of a prime mover, and had lowered a bottle jack to bring a freshly changed tyre to rest on the ground, which exploded as it took the weight of the trailer.

Counsel assisting the Central Queensland coroner, John Aberdeen, said the inner side wall of the inside tyre had failed in what was called a “zipper failure”.

The tear in the side wall “sudden and catastrophic” resulting in a powerful torrent of air escaping from the tyre, and MacDonald suffered the full force of it to his chest and upper body, Aberdeen said.

The tyre had previously been repaired for a slow leak, however inspector Slade said that the zipper failure and the previous repair were not connected.

It was understood that MacDonald had filled the tyre to 110psi, however Slade admitted that he didn't check the pressure of the tyres of the vehicle involved in the incident in the days following MacDonald's death.

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