Duals are useful to improve traction and reduce soil compaction. However, for some farming activities, they may no longer be necessary. Removing them reduces tire wear and enhances maneuverability. While removing duals doesn’t seem dangerous, there are some hazards associated with the task. People have been crushed by falling wheels and experienced strains and sprains. Improperly stored duals are also a hazard. Removing and storing duals can be done safely with the proper precautions. Removing duals is a two-person job. Working with another trained person is not only safer, it’s also more efficient.
Before getting started, take the time to review the task. Make sure you have all the personal protective equipment and tools you need to get started. Nothing is more frustrating than starting a job and finding out that you are missing essential items to finish the task. Ensure that unauthorized persons, children and pets are out of the work area.
Park the tractor in a flat area that is suitable for this type of work, set the parking break and remove the keys from the ignition. Ensure that both front wheels are blocked before starting the work. (You don’t need a runaway tractor!)
Hydraulic jacks, wheel blocks, dollies, and impact wrenches are all important tools in removing duals properly. Make sure they are all in good working condition and appropriate for the task.
Make sure to wear the right gear. Work gloves and safety footwear are mandatory while removing duals. Hearing protection and safety goggles are also mandatory when using an impact wrench.
Some safety tips while performing the job are:
- Use proper lifting and bending techniques to prevent strains when blocking the tractor
- Make sure to properly position and block the dolly to prevent unexpected movement.
- Ensure that the area where you are working remains clear of any tripping hazards.
- Make sure to secure the dual to the dolly using the security chain.
Storing duals properly is just as important as removing them safely. Children and other people have been inadvertently crushed because of improper storage. Duals should be stored securely, out of the way of regular foot and vehicle traffic. Make sure the duals aren’t accessible to children. Tires can be irresistible to children, they look like great fun to climb but can pose falling and crushing hazards.
Following established working procedures when removing and storing duals can make the task easier and safer. Consider hosting a toolbox talk on this task on your farm. Visit agsafetyweek.ca and check out the resources including toolbox talks on topics like removing duals safely, operating portable augers, transporting oversized loads and more.