A rollover protection structure (ROPS) is a system or structure designed to protect equipment operators and motorists from injuries caused by rollover accidents.
ROPS are roll bars or roll cages designed for wheel- and track-type agricultural tractors. They are designed to create a protective zone around the operator when a rollover occurs and surround the operator and provide protection during accidents.
There are three main types of ROPS frames:
Since 1985, a national voluntary standard has made ROPS standard equipment on all new tractors. Retrofits are available for many older tractors but can be prohibitively expensive.
The installation of ROPS on older tractors that lack these protective devices has been identified as a viable solution for reducing overturn fatality rates among US farmers.
When worn with a seat belt, these engineering controls are 99% effective in preventing fatalities from tractor overturns.
The benefits of using a tractor rollover bar are:
Preventing injury in a rollover accident: The most important reason to have a tractor rollover bar is to prevent injury or death in the event of a rollover accident. The rollover bar prevents the occupant's head from being crushed, assuming they are wearing a seat belt and are still in the seat.
Protection against overhead obstacles: A tractor canopy and rollover bar combination helps protect against overhead obstacles such as tree branches.
Cost-effectiveness: The installation of ROPS on older tractors that lack these protective devices has been identified as a viable solution for reducing overturn fatality rates among US farmers.
Compliance with regulations: The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires an approved ROPS for all agricultural tractors over 20 horsepower that were manufactured after October 25, 1976, and which are operated by a hired employee.
Limiting damage to the tractor: A ROPS normally limits the degree of rollover, thereby reducing damage to the tractor.
When used with a seat belt, the ROPS will prevent the operator from being thrown from the protective zone and crushed from an overturning tractor or from equipment mounted or hooked to the tractor.
The use of ROPS and a seat belt is estimated to be 99% effective in preventing death or serious injury in the event of a tractor rollover.
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