Hazard Surveillance of Farms Lacking Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) on Farm Tractors

  • McKnight, Robert;
  • Janney, C. A.

The prevalence of rollover protective structures (ROPS) on farm tractors was assessed by a telephone survey of 2283 randomly selected Kentucky farm households with annual sales greater than $1000. The survey was conducted in Spring, 1994, in 19 counties statewide, during Phase I of the Kentucky Farm Family Health and Hazard Surveillance Project. Among other questions, the survey asked how many tractors the farm had, and how many of those tractors were equipped with rollover protection. A household was included in the analysis if it had at least one farm tractor and the respondent indicated the ROPS status of the tractor(s).

Of the 2150 farm households analyzed, 54% had no ROPS-equipped tractor. Only 13.6% of the households had all of their farm tractors equipped with ROPS. The likelihood of having at least one ROPS-equipped tractor was significantly greater if the principal farm operator was male (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.62, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.07 - 2.46), was under 65 years of age (OR = 1.44, CI = 1.18 - 1.77), and did not have an off-the-farm job (OR = 1.34, CI = 1.12 - 1.59). In addition, farms with at least one ROPS-equipped tractor had a significantly greater number of farm tractors (2.9 vs. 1.9, p<0.01), had greater acreage (274 vs. 124, p<0.01), and had more non-household workers on the farm (4.2 vs. 3.3, p<0.05). The presence of children in the household was not significantly associated with having a ROPS-equipped tractor (p>0.05).

The lack of rollover protection places the tractor operator at higher risk of death in rollover and, thus, represents a significant occupational hazard on farms. Despite the availability of ROPS on new machinery or for retrofit, over half the farms in Kentucky do not yet use ROPS to reduce the risk of fatality in a rollover. In Phase II of the study, additional information on commodities, tractor age, tractor use, and prior tractor rollovers will be collected from these households. Results from this hazard surveillance will aid in targeting high-risk farm households for ROPS intervention programs.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors noted above are from: Both at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

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