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Friday, August 19, 2011

Old farm "widow maker" tire and wheel assembly subject of Alberta Court decision

An Alberta Court acquitted a tire shop on charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) related to an accident involving one of its workers.  The accident occurred while the worker was inflating a tire mounted on a split-rim wheel assembly known as a "widow maker".  The tire technician suffered multiple facial fractures and a closed head injury as a result of an apparent "blow off".  The Court noted that split-rim assemblies are uncommon, but an exception is the use of the older style rims on farm trucks where the changeover to new rims can be cost-prohibitive.

The technician's employer was charged with failing to protect the worker in this case.  However, the Court found that the tire shop did have the proper safety mechanisms in place.  The technician simply did not follow the prescribed procedures, including the use of a buddy system and a tire restraint system.

Read the decision at: R. v. Fountain Tire (Olds) Ltd.