Both fires – their locations were not disclosed – were hazardous to miners as well as firefighters because the tires exploded in both incidents.
“Large off-road tires can throw debris 900 feet when they explode,” the agency said.
While no one was injured in either incident as a result of the explosions, the loader operator in one of the events was burned and injured as he jumped from the unit.
“Fires can also start inside tires when torches or welders are used in the dangerous practice of heating wheel components while the tire is still mounted,” MSHA pointed out, noting that two internal fires and subsequent explosions several years ago resulted in two fatalities.
MSHA reminded miners and firefighters to remain aware of the dangers of off-road tires and how to properly respond to an incident where these tires are involved.
It pointed to an information publication by standards development organization SAE International, SAE J2828, Off-Road Tire Fire Handling Guidelines, to provide “guidelines to help prevent tire fires, provide guidance for immediate action by equipment operators and subsequently by firefighting personnel”
The publication, federal officials said, provided specific information for individuals to help ensure machine operator safety as well as the safety of rescue personnel and firefighters.
It also provides details on tire fire causes and methods to reduce their likelihood.
While SAE J2828 is available from SAE International, MSHA is also providing a limited number of copies of this report free of charge for mine fire brigades and local fire departments.
Those interested should contact Angel at 304-547-2064 or Angel.James@dol.gov.