Keeping Your Jobsite Safe with the Right Tires

Tire Safety on the Job Site
Tire Safety on the Job Site

Your heavy equipment works hard to get the job done for you but the tires on your heavy equipment work even harder. The safety of your equipment and jobsite depends on your tires. If they lose traction you cannot control your equipment anymore and that creates a dangerous work environment.

Monster Tires is here to help you keep your jobsite safe. In this article, we explain the importance of having a safe tread level on your equipment. We will show you how to choose the right tire based on a few key factors as well as provide a list of dangers that can be avoided.

If you find that your heavy equipment's tires have become unsafe and are affecting your machine's performance, it would be a good idea to replace them. Doing so can avoid costly accidents and keep your jobsite safe. MonsterTires.com is a valuable resource for hi-quality affordable tires.

Choosing Tires for Your Equipment Needs

When choosing a new set of tires, It is important to consider the equipment you are using and not just base your decision on the terrain. Doing this can increase your jobsite safety substantially. Heavy construction equipment tires have a classification assigned to them that is based on the type of construction equipment. Here is a list of tire classifications and the equipment they are used on.

Construction Tire Classifications

When it comes to choosing the right tire for your equipment, it's helpful to know about how the manufactures rate their tires. OTR tires are rated using the following lettering system:

  • E is for Earthmoving equipment such as scrapers and rigid dump trucks.
  • L is for Loaders and Dozers.
  • G is for Graders.

You will find that tires for loaders are going to have more sidewall protection because of the rough terrain they are used on. Whereas earthmover equipment tires will not have as much sidewall protection but they are created to withstand the stress of carrying heavy loads at higher speeds. Tires also have restrictions on the travel distance and speed they are capable of.

Maximum Travel Distance and Speeds for Heavy Construction Equipment Tires

  • Earthmover Tires travel at a distance of 2.5 miles one-way at max 30mph.
  • Loader Tires travel 250 ft at 5mph.
  • Grader Tires travel at unlimited distances at 25mph.

In the construction industry, heavy equipment tires have a specific groove design for the lugs on the tire. This grooved design is referred to as a tread pattern. Tread patterns can vary by the type of terrain. There will be different tread patterns for smooth ground, rocky terrain, mud, as well as hard abrasive services.

OTR (off the road) tires have a deep tread that can handle mud, gravel, and other loose ground.

OTR tires with aggressive all-terrain lug patterns are great for construction sites and moving dirt. On-road tires have a smoother tread. They can handle concrete much better than OTR tires.

OTR tires are a safer option for when you are needing to use your equipment on pavement throughout the day.

Tire Tread Patterns

You need to match the type of tread pattern to your equipment to ensure safe operation. Every manufacturer has a variety of tread patterns. It's a good idea to check with the manufacturer of your machine to get a line up of available tire and tread pattern options. Below is a list of tread patterns and the styles of equipment best suited for them.

Skid Steer Tread Patterns

There are three types of tread patterns available for skid steers diamond, swept, and button lugs.

  1. Diamond Lugs
  2. Bar or Swept
  3. Turf or Button

A tire with diamond lugs performs best on hard surfaces such as concrete or rock. This tread pattern was designed to have a deep tread that provides impact resistance and less wear.

The Bar or Swept tread pattern gives the best traction of the three and is used when working in deep mud areas and soft surfaces where traction is the main concern.

Working with a Turf or Button tread pattern will allow your skid steer to work in turf areas. This type of tread pattern has an extremely shallow tread for a minimized ground disturbance.

Backhoe Tread Patterns

There are two types of tread style options for front backhoe tires an I-3 or F-3.

  • The I-3 is an open bar lug design that provides traction for soft surfaces.
  • The F-3 is a ribbed design that provides durability and a smooth ride on hard surfaces.

Earthmovers, Graders, and Loaders

The earthmoving and larger OTR machines require more time spent on choosing the right tread patterns and tread depth. This is because these machines are more likely to have tires that overheat, puncture, and separate from the machines if the wrong tread pattern is chosen. Therefore, The Tire and Rim Association created a letter and number system that applies to all manufacturers.

Earthmover Tread Style and Tread Depth

  • E1 Rib tread has a standard depth and is used primarily on roads.
  • E2 Traction tread has a standard depth and is used on soft surfaces.
  • E3 Rock tread has a standard depth and is used on hard surface conditions.
  • E4 Rock tread has a tread depth of 1.5 times deeper than the standard depth and is used for harsh rocky conditions.
  • E7 Rib pattern has a shallow tread depth that is 60% as deep as the standard. It is used for turf surfaces where minimal ground disturbance is needed.

Grader Tread Style and Tread Depth

  • G2 Traction tread has a standard depth and is used on soft surfaces.
  • G3 Rock tread has a standard depth and is used on hard surface conditions.
  • G4 Rock tread has a tread depth of 1.5 times deeper than the standard depth and is used for harsh rocky conditions.

Loader Tread Style and Tread Depth

  • L2 Traction tread has a standard depth and is used on soft surfaces.
  • L3 Rock tread has a standard depth and is used on hard surface conditions.
  • L4 Rock tread has a tread depth of 1.5 times deeper than the standard depth and is used for harsh rocky conditions.
  • L-4S Smooth tread has no lugs. The tread is 1.5 times deeper than the standard loader tread depth. This tread pattern is best used on hard surfaces where traction is not a concern.
  • L5 Rock tread has a tread depth that is 2.5 times deeper than the standard loader tread depth. This tread pattern is best used in the most severe working conditions.
  • L-5S Smooth tread has a tread depth that is 2.5 times deeper than the standard loader tread depth. This tread pattern is best used in the severe working conditions that require wear-resistance or traction.

What about Solid or Pneumatic Tires?

MonsterTires.com carries tires for all the major equipment brands and models. We have tread styles that are designed to handle large pieces of debris without damaging the tires, such as solid tires. Additionally, we carry a wide variety of pneumatic tires.

Pneumatic tires are best suited for job sites where you are not going to be encountering debris. The best way to ensure tire safety is to choose a tire and tread style that fits your equipment and job site you are working on.

Worn out Tread and Jobsite Safety Issues

Tires are one of the hardest working components of your machine. Working on a jobsite not only puts a lot of miles on your equipment but also wears down the tread on your tires. Listed below are five jobsite safety issues associated with worn-out tread.

Five Jobsite Safety Issues Caused by Worn Out Tread

  1. Flats
  2. Slippage
  3. Accidents due to malfunctions
  4. Personal injuries or even death
  5. Equipment damage

#1.  Flats

Tires that have worn out tread no longer have that extra protection against the rough ground and sharp debris. This makes tires easily susceptible to punctures which can cause a flat tire.

 #2. Slippage

Having an unsafe tread level on your tires can cause your equipment to slip and you can lose stability when riding over soft soil or mud environments. When you are using tires that have an unsafe tread level and your heavy construction equipment is not stable, this creates very unsafe operating conditions.

#3. Accidents due to malfunctions

Accidents can occur when using construction tires that are not at a safe tread level. When your piece of heavy construction equipment is not stable, it can roll over or collide into a structure or another piece of heavy construction equipment.

#4. Personal injuries or death

According to an independent report published by the Center to Protect Workers Rights, rollovers were placed at the top of the main causes for operator deaths. Worn out tread can cause heavy equipment to roll over with the operator caught inside or the machine's instability caused by worn-out tires can cause injuries to the workers on foot.

#5. Equipment damage

When you have heavy equipment potentially becoming unstable, this can cause accidents, injuries and also equipment damage. If your machine is running on tires that are no longer safe and it rolls over into a ditch, the cab or the body of the machine can be damaged. This can cause project downtime which is bad for business.

Brands and Equipment Style Options

There are different types of tires for different types of heavy equipment. Not all tires are created equally and you want to make sure you are getting a high-quality set of tires from a reputable manufacturer. Here at Monster Tires, you will find a wide variety of heavy equipment tires from reputable manufacturers including:

  • Bobcat
  • Case
  • Caterpillar
  • Deere
  • JCB
  • Komatsu
  • Kubota
  • New Holland
  • Terex
  • Volvo

We also carry tires for all styles of equipment, including:

Choosing Tires Based on Ply Rating

Another important factor to consider when choosing the right set of tires is the ply rating. The ply rating measures the load-carrying capacity and strength of the tires.

The standard rule is the higher the ply rating, the higher the amount of maximum air pressure and capacity for heavier loads A rule of thumb would be to choose a tire that can carry the weight of your load using the lowest inflation pressure. Always match the ply rating to the equipment and the application.

A Common Mistake

Many contractors make the common mistake of not taking the equipment or the ply rating into consideration when purchasing tires and they wind up getting the wrong tires. Doing this can cause a handful of problems creating an unsafe jobsite and project downtime. Here are just five of the potential problems having the wrong tire creates.

Five Potential Problems Caused by Choosing the Wrong Tire

  1. Load weight problems: some tires cannot handle certain weights
  2. Fuel performance problems
  3. Vehicle performance problems
  4. Operator discomfort
  5. High maintenance costs and damage to your equipment

Having the right set of tires for your equipment will increase its performance and longevity allowing you to get a better return on your investment.

Choosing the wrong type of tires for your equipment can be detrimental to the performance of your equipment and in the worst-case scenario, you can have a serious safety problem on your hands such as an injury or fatality situation.

All these catastrophic safety issues are all easily avoidable if you purchase the right set of tires for your equipment from the very beginning.

Final Thoughts

The first step in tire safety on any jobsite is making sure you have the right tires for your equipment. Tires are classified and rated to work best for specific pieces of equipment. It's best practices to choose a tire that fits your equipment, has the right tread pattern for the terrain, and the correct ply rating.

It's also a good idea to take a look at your other pieces of construction equipment to make sure those tires have optimal tread. Not having a safe tread level will cause many problems for your jobsite and your equipment.

MonsterTires.com carries tires for all the major equipment brands and models, so you never need to worry about not being able to find the right set of tires for your equipment. We also provide fast and reliable shipping. There is always a knowledgeable staff member waiting to help you place your order from start to finish.

Call us today at 530.292-6400 or fill out our contact form.

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