ROPS Retrofitting: Measuring Effectiveness of Incentives and Uncovering Inherent Barriers to Success

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Hallman, Eric M.


Tractor overturns are the leading cause of all tractor- and machinery-related fatalities in the agricultural industry. A rollover protective structure (ROPS) on a tractor is the most effective mechanism for protecting a tractor operator's life during a tractor overturn incident. Unfortunately, about half of all tractors presently in operation in the U.S. do not have a ROPS. Retrofitting such tractors with ROPS could result in an as much as a 99% reduction in fatalities associated with tractor overturns. The overall aim of this study was to determine the level of financial incentive required to motivate the maximum number of farmers to install ROPS on non-ROPS equipped tractors and thus affect the greatest level of change within the farming community. This was done by offering a range of subsidy levels by percentage and not by specific dollar amounts to a random sampling of New York farms. A secondary goal was to find any hidden problems associated with retrofitting. Study results showed that cost was not the only factor affecting farmers' reluctance to retrofit. A perceived and actual “hassle factor” was found to be endemic to the retrofitting process and a significant obstacle to farmers' willingness to retrofit, no matter the level of financial subsidy.

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