OSHA releases new tire training resources

It has been more than 30 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its regulation 29 CFR 1910.177 which covers the procedures for servicing single- and multi-piece truck tire assemblies. A major component of that standard was a set of wall charts that detailed the demounting, mounting and inflation procedures, as well as the matching components for multi-piece rims.

Several years ago, a TIA official spoke at a convention and made some comments regarding the outdated material contained in OSHA’s tire and wheel wall charts.

When most of the commercial truck tire market consisted of multi-piece rims, the information was valuable and relevant. But the industry has been predominantly tubeless with single-piece rims for the past couple of decades, so the OSHA charts at the time were almost useless from a training perspective.

As it turned out, someone from OSHA was in the audience and that particular presentation initiated a chain of events that ultimately resulted in the addition of another OSHA chart, wherein the safety guidelines for single-piece assemblies could be more thoroughly explained.

New OSHA Manual

Another significant improvement that resulted from TIA’s direct request was the creation of the new OSHA manual that contains all of the information in the agency’s wall charts.

Back in 1996, TIA literally took a scissors to the OSHA charts and pasted the material to 8.5” by 11” paper so it could be included in TIA training programs.

At the time, the OSHA definition for “charts” was: “Charts” means the U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration publications entitled Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Truck/Bus Tires and Multi-Piece Rim Wheel Matching Chart; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publications entitled Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Truck/Bus Tires and Multi-Piece Rim Wheel Matching Chart; or any other poster which contains at least the same instructions, safety precautions and other information contained in the charts that is applicable to the types of wheels being serviced.

TIA recognized that some OSHA inspectors would zero in on the “any other poster” language and, therefore, not recognize the information in the manual format. However, TIA felt it was practically impossible for a road service technician to utilize a poster in the field and a poster would be less effective in the classroom.

From an industry standpoint, there weren’t any widespread issues of businesses being cited for having the booklets instead of the posters, so it hasn’t been a problem. Nevertheless, TIA still pointed it out to the OSHA officials so it could be addressed as well.

Manual or Poster Format

OSHA now allows “charts” to be in manual or poster form. Moreover, it will accept any other manual or poster that provides at least the same instructions, safety precautions and other information contained in the aforementioned publications which are applicable to the types of wheels being serviced.

With the charts in the official OSHA format, there are also no more excuses for failing to make them available in the service area, which includes service trucks. Manufacturers can now include them as part of their service manuals, and anyone with a printer and Internet connection can download them at no cost by visiting TIA’s website: http://www.tireindustry.org/cts.asp.

Interestingly enough, OSHA is not printing the actual posters. The agency agrees with TIA that the manual format is much more effective and will have a broader reach.

Procedures for Safety

The new Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Tube-Type Truck and Bus Tires contains most of the information in the old demount/mount chart. It still includes the language requiring technicians to deflate both tires before loosening the lug nuts on a tube-type demountable rim assembly because people continue to get injured or killed when something goes wrong.

Whether it’s mismatched or damaged by overloading, the release of the pressure from the clamps is enough to allow the components to separate. If tires are completely deflated before the lug nuts are loosened, there is no risk of a separation during the removal process.

On the other hand, if fully inflated multi-piece assemblies are removed from the cast spoke wheel, there’s always a chance that a fatal or serious accident can occur.

Nothing really changes for the Tube-Type Chart. We just want to remind everyone that people are still getting injured or killed when loosening the lug nuts on these assemblies when they are inflated.

Rim Matching Chart

The most obvious change to the Multi-Piece Rim Matching Chart is the structure. In the old chart, the out-of-production parts were listed along with the current production so it was easier to make a mistake.

Under the new format, there is a clear difference between the two, and the word “obsolete” was added to encourage technicians to take a closer look at components with those identification stamps.

In many instances, the components will be 30 to 40 years old and completely unpredictable from a strength of materials standpoint. They are not “illegal,” but they are obsolete and best suited for scrap and eventual recycling.

Zipper Ruptures

For the Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Tubeless Truck and Bus Tires chart, problems like zipper ruptures and heat damage to disc wheels are addressed.

It is important to make sure that all technicians are aware of the signs of a potential zipper rupture so they can recognize it during inspection or inflation.

While the new tubeless chart doesn’t mention overinflation as part of the zipper rupture inspection, it still includes all of the basic principles for demounting, mounting and inflating tubeless tires on single-piece rims, and includes new information on inspection and rim identification.

The Overinflation Step

Be advised, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) recommends overinflation, and TIA agrees.

Every steel radial truck tire that is returning to service must be overinflated in the restraining device to test for a zipper rupture. We’ve seen them zipper without warning during the overinflation step of the process, so we know that inflating to the recommended pressure may not be enough.

Thankfully, tires never zippered during the old 20-minute waiting period, which is why it went away, but the overinflation stayed. If the tire doesn’t zipper after the stress of overinflation while contained in the restraining device, chances are good it won’t happen during installation.

For a free copy of the RMA Tire Information Service Bulletin, visit www.rma.org/publications/tire_service_professionals/index.cfm?PublicationID=11514.

Know the Risks

None of the information on the three OSHA charts should be new to the tire or trucking industries. Unfortunately, there are still people being seriously injured or killed because they are unaware of the risks associated with servicing truck tires and wheels.

The new OSHA charts should better help technicians identify a problem before someone gets hurt.

The OSHA standard mandates training for everyone that touches a truck tire and these charts should be an integral part of every training program.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is an international association representing all segments of the tire industry, including those that manufacture, repair, recycle, sell, service or use new or retreaded tires, and also those suppliers or individuals who furnish equipment, material or services to the industry. TIA was formed by the July 2002 merger of the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA) and the Tire Association of North America (TANA). TIA’s main office is in Bowie, MD. The association has more than 6,000 current members.