Encouraging Farmers to Retrofit Tractors: A Qualitative Analysis of Risk Perceptions among a Group of High-Risk Farmers in New York

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Purschwitz, Mark A.;
  • May, John J.;
  • Emmelin, Maria;
  • Paap, Kris;
  • Sorensen, Julie A.


Tractor rollovers continue to be one of the most frequent causes of agricultural fatalities. Despite knowledge of rollovers and the efficacy of rollover protective structures (ROPS), few New York farmers have considered installing ROPS on their unprotected tractors. Qualitative interviews conducted with an "at-risk" segment of the New York farming community indicate that there are a number of barriers to safety in general and to retrofitting, in particular. The following themes and categories emerged in relation to safety and risk taking: constant exposures to risk with positive outcomes normalizes risk; the modeling of risk by significant others positions risk as part of a farming identity; and the pressure to reduce costs, save time, and accept risk frames risk-taking as the cost-effective option (especially in regard to retrofitting, which farmers believe is both expensive and time-consuming). Recommendations for researchers planning retrofitting interventions would be to focus safety messages on the risk to significant others or on the financial impact of rollovers, and to provide financial incentives and assistance to farmers considering retrofitting.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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