A survey of farms in Washington State was conducted to determine tractor characteristics and the presence of rollover protective structures (ROPS) in a state with more inclusive rules on tractor retrofitting than federal regulations. A total of 544 valid surveys were completed from a proportional random sample across different types of farms. Responders indicated that 58% of tractors overall were equipped with ROPS, and 42% of the tractors without ROPS were exempt from the state rules. Seatbelts on tractors equipped with ROPS were reportedly used â€œsometimesâ€ or more 30% of the time, and 17% of these tractors had no seatbelt installed. Tractors used for row crop farming were significantly more likely to be equipped with ROPS than those used for tree, vine, or hops farming. Older tractors were used for fewer hours, were less likely to be ROPS-equipped, and were less likely to be operated while wearing a seatbelt. The results were consistent with a positive effect of the Washington State ROPS requirements, demonstrated by the increased percentage of ROPS-equipped pre-1976 tractors, as compared to other states, and by the difference between ROPS-equipped tractors in exempt and non-exempt types of farming. The results point to the need for prevention activities to increase seatbelt use on ROPS-equipped tractors, and for further development of practical protection for tractors operating under overhead obstacles.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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