Agriculture in the United States is one of the most hazardous industries, only surpassed by mining and construction. No other farm machine is so identified with the hazards of production agriculture as the tractor. Tractor-related injuries account for approximately 32% of the fatalities and 6% of the nonfatal injuries in agriculture. Over 50% is attributed to tractor overturns.
The roll-over protection structure (ROPS) and seat belt, when worn, are the most important safety devices to protect operators from death during tractor overturns.
Modern tractors have a ROPS to prevent an operator from being crushed when overturning. This is especially important in open-air tractors, where the ROPS is a steel beam that extends above the operator's seat. For tractors with operator cabs, the ROPS is part of the frame of the cab. ROPS with enclosed cab further reduces the likelihood of serious injury because the operator is protected by the sides and windows of the cab.
These structures were first required by legislation in Sweden in 1959. Before they were required, some farmers died when their tractors rolled on top of them. Row-crop tractors, before ROPS, were particularly dangerous because of their 'tricycle' design with the two front wheels spaced close together and angled inward toward the ground. Some farmers were killed by rollovers while operating tractors along steep slopes.
Others have been killed while attempting to tow or pull an excessive load from above axle height, or when cold weather caused the tires to freeze to the ground, in both cases causing the tractor to pivot around the rear axle. ROPS were first required in the United States in 1986, non-retroactively. ROPS adoption by farmers is thus incomplete. To treat this problem, CROPS (cost-effective roll-over protection structures) have been developed to encourage farmers to retrofit older tractors.
For the ROPS to work as designed, the operator must stay within its protective frame and wear the seat belt.
If you need any further help or have any questions about tractors, implements, or anything else equipment-related, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.
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