Holy Cow Tractor Pulling Team

Safety

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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] Modern tractors have a ROPS to prevent an operator from being crushed if the tractor turns over. The ROPS does not prevent tractor overturns; rather, it prevents the operator from being crushed during an overturn. 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. A 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. For the ROPS to work as designed, the operator must stay within its protective frame. This means the operator must wear the seat belt; not wearing it may defeat the primary purpose of the ROPS. Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) refers to operator compartment structures (usually cabs or frames) intended to protect equipment operators and motorists from injuries caused by vehicle overturns or rollovers. ROPS bar on a Fordson tractor. Roll over protection

tructure on an MF 135. Photo: K.A. Gallis. Commonly found on heavy equipment (i.e. tractors) used in construction and agriculture, ROPS structures are defined by various regulatory agencies, including the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).[1] The regulations include both a strength requirement as well as an energy absorption requirement of the structure. Some dump trucks add a protrusion to their boxes that cover the operators compartment for ROPS purposes. In the US, ROPS designs have to be certified by a Professional Engineer, who will normally require a destructive test. The structure will be tested at a reduced temperature (where the metal is more brittle), or fabricated from materials that have satisfactory low temperature performance. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (USA) believes that ROPS and proper seat belt use on tractors can eliminate nearly all fatalities caused by tractor and lawn mower overturns.[2] (Without a seatbelt, the rider may be thrown from the tractor during the overturn, and thus left unprotected by the ROPS).[3] A recent Cochrane Systematic Review confirmed that in one Swedish study there was evidence that legislation mandating ROPS on new tractors decreased the fatality rate immediately and further reduced the rate over time.[4] Some tractor operators have raised concerns about using ROPS in low-clearance environments, such as in orchards and buildings. In response, NIOSH developed an Automatically Deploying Rollover Protective Structure (AutoROPS) which stays in a lowered position until a rollover condition is determined, at which time it deploys to a fully extended and locked position. It is currently working with manufacturers to streamline the commercialization of this technology.[2] Some automobile models have begun to adopt the phrase, substituting system for structure in the ROPS acronym, notably the Volvo C70 convertible models, and Jaguar XK. Their ROPS structures consist of two pyrotechnically charged roll hoops hidden behind the rear seats that will pop up in the case of a roll-over to protect the occupants. If the roof is up, the system will still work, in effect shattering the rear window at the same time.

C.O.W. Systems