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Multi-piece wheels or rims have frequently resulted in serious injury or death to tire mounters employed in service stations and tire stores which explains why they are often referred to as “widow makers.” Multi-piece rims are available in numerous configurations or designs, but all are potentially life threatening. Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sought to ban multi-piece rims altogether, the tire and wheel industry was successful in avoiding a ban by sponsoring a program of public education in the workplace. Posters designed for the guidance of workers are now prominently displayed in most service stations and tire stores, but the net result of the educational campaign has been to shift liability from the tire and wheel manufacturers to local businesses, employers, and the injured employees.
Although OSHA guidelines require, among other things, the use of a safety cage during the tire mounting operation, accidents still occur after the wheel is removed from the safety cage, for example, when it explodes as it is being mounted on the vehicle. The warnings (which are part of the educational program) are not an adequate substitute for a safer design. The single-piece wheel has been available for all tires for almost 40 years. Product liability lawsuits resulting from explosions of the multi-piece rims may hasten their removal from the marketplace.
This site is sponsored by the Newsome Melton Law Firm.
The Newsome Melton Law Firm is located in Orlando, Florida and represents consumers who have been injured by defective products.