Mechanic Injured While Changing Dual Tires on Feller-Buncher
On a clear and sunny morning in the Southeast Region, a mechanic was attempting to remove the front dual tires off of a feller-buncher. The tire configuration consisted of a 30.5-inch inside tire and a 24.5-inch outside tire.
The mechanic was well-trained and had been working for the logging company for over six years. He had previous employment experience as a mechanic for several different employers throughout his career.
Unsafe Acts and Conditions
The mechanic failed to use the service crane mounted on the service truck for support and did not use a “safety bolt” while performing the tire change.
The mechanic parked the service truck nearby the feller-buncher so he could have access to the air compressor and tools needed to perform the tire change. After all bolts were removed, the mechanic bumped the tire with his body, and the accumulated wood debris wedged between the two tires caused the outer tire to spring forward. The 800-pound tire knocked the mechanic down and landed on top of him in the process, pinning his waist and legs to the ground. He was pinned under the tire for approximately one hour until a truck driver arrived at the shop and discovered the mechanic lying on the ground beneath the tire.
The truck driver grabbed a nearby pry bar and was able to raise the tire enough to create an opportunity for the mechanic to crawl out from underneath the tire. Emergency personnel transported the injured employee to a regional medical center, where he was diagnosed with a hip and pelvis fracture.
Recommendations for Correction
- Always use a service crane to support the tire.
- Always use a “safety” bolt to secure the tire during a tire change.
- Remove accumulated wood debris before performing tire change.