OPP, AL – Federal workplace safety inspectors have determined the operator of a southern Alabama tire shop could have prevented a 45-year-old mechanic’s fatal injuries by following required safety standards.

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the tire service mechanic and an apprentice had just inflated a tractor tire after mounting it on its rim at Neal Tindol Tire LLC in Opp on Jan. 18, 2023, when seconds later the tire exploded as the mechanic leaned over it to unhook the air compressor’s hose. The tire struck the mechanic before flying upward, breaking through the ceiling and landing on the roof.

OSHA inspectors learned the air compressor the two workers used had been set to inflate the tire at 110 pounds per square inch units of pressure when the tire that exploded had a maximum load-carrying capacity of 35 pounds per square inch.

The agency determined that the tire shop allowed employees to inflate tires on single-piece rim wheels without using a required restraining device or barrier for protection against tire explosion. In addition, OSHA cited the company for exposing workers to struck-by hazards by allowing workers to remain in an unsafe area while inflating tires, and for failing to prevent workers from inflating tires above the manufacturer’s maximum recommended pressure. Neal Tindol Tire faces $14,511 in proposed penalties for the violations.

“Tire manufacturers’ recommendations and federal workplace safety rules exist to prevent tragedies like this one,” said OSHA Area Office Director Jose Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. “In this case, Neal Tindol Tire failed to make sure required safety procedures to protect employees were in place and followed, leaving the worker’s family, friends and co-workers to grieve a needless death.”

Operating in Opp since 1998, Neal Tindol Tire LLC specializes in the distribution, sale and installation of new and used tires for cars, pickups, semi-trucks and tractors. The company has a 40,000-square-foot tire storage warehouse.​

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards

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