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While most of its workforce likely started with Tonka trucks in the backyard as a young child, the earth-moving industry in the mining sector works with some of the heaviest and most highly engineered vehicles on a daily basis. It is quite clear then, to see any maintenance task on these vehicles as a risky activity and one in need of consistently safe procedures.

It is in this pursuit of safe maintenance that AS 4457.2-2008, Earth-moving machinery – Off-the-road wheels, rims and tyres – Maintenance and repair – Tyres, seeks to provide guidance to those in the industry.

This standard aims to provide those involved in the earth-moving industry with information on the repair, retreading and correct maintenance of tyres used on earth-moving machinery. The size and force evident in the everyday practices of this industry mean safety must be a high priority, and any information on how to best maintain vehicle tyres should place safety as the number one concern.

Tyre safety for broader benefit

Earth-moving tyres can be a cause of extremely hazardous situations which may result in fatalities if correct procedures for the repair, retreading and maintenance of tyres have not been followed. Further, even the use of repaired or retreaded tyres that are substandard and the use of poorly tyres maintained pose high risks to those operating the machinery.

As is always the case in safety, risks need to be identified, controlled, and eliminated or minimised.

The earth-moving sector is no exception to this and with the magnitude of some of the equipment, and the work being undertaken, the risks can be far more serious in this industry than many others.

While the mining sector has been a significant employer in years gone by, there has also been related industries growing right alongside. The more prominent industries include things like mining technology, logistics, and construction – all three of which will be similarly influenced by the intention of this standard.

All the industries running alongside mining, as well as obviously the mining sector itself, will require earth-moving machinery at some stage and eventually maintenance will need to take place. It is here that AS 4457.2-2008, aims to facilitate safety for those involved.

Constant improvement

Standards are living documents, and even when published they are never truly completed. This particular standard is an example of one operating in an industry that is deeply committed to safety and looks to standards for support. It is in this mould that we see this standard regularly discussed for updating, and one that garners so much support from industry to be as up to date as possible.

Like many other standards, beyond the professionals directly impacted by its intention it can be difficult to ascertain exactly how far the benefit of this standard will reach. Put simply,

this standard aims to protect those involved in maintaining the heaviest of heavy vehicles

and in turn keeping those operating earth-moving machinery safe while on the job. So while it is unlikely to impact every single Australian, for those people that do interact with this standard it may well just save a life.

This case study is available in PDF format.