Wayne Robert MacDonald, 53, was killed at the Foxleigh Mine, near Middlemount, in 2010 while changing a tyre on a trailer attached to a prime mover. MacDonald was still under the trailer when one of the replacement tyres exploded.
According to the Mackay Mercury, “The tyre chosen to replace the flat tyre had had the words “slow leak” painted on the side wall. These words had been crossed out and the word “ok” was painted there.”
John Aberdeen, Counsel assisting the Coroner David O’Connell, told the inquest, that the “inner side wall of the inside tyre” had failed in what was called a “zipper failure”.
“The tear in the side wall was sudden and catastrophic resulting in a powerful torrent of air escaping”, Aberdeen said.
The Inquest was told MacDonald had just inflated the replacement tyre to 110psi. The tyre then exploded when it was lowered to the ground.
MacDonald “suffered the full force to his chest and upper body” and died at the scene.
The Mackay Mercury goes on to report, “Mines inspector John Slade, who was the lead investigator, said there was “some confusion” from the employees who measured the tyre pressure about what the correct tyre pressure should be.”
“A range of figures was given including 100, 110, 120, 125 and 130psi.”
“Mr Slade said a forensic examination of the tyre that exploded showed the previous repair and the zipper failure weren’t connected.”
“Mr Aberdeen asked Mr Slade whether an Australian standard for tyre capacity would have to be driven by the Mines Inspectorate; he said it was something his office could do.”