In the U.S., approximately 132 agricultural tractor overturn fatalities occur per year. The use of rollover protective structures (ROPS), along with seat belts, is the best-known method for preventing these fatalities. However, one impediment to ROPS use is low-clearance situations, such as orchards and animal confinement buildings. To address the need for ROPS that are easily adapted to low-clearance situations, the Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, developed a prototype automatically deploying, telescoping ROPS (AutoROPS). The NIOSH AutoROPS consists of two subsystems. The first is a retractable ROPS that is normally latched in its lowered position for day-to-day use. The second subsystem is a sensor that monitors the operating angle of the tractor. If an overturn condition is detected by the sensor, the retracted ROPS will deploy and lock in the full upright position before ground contact. Static load testing and field upset tests of the NIOSH AutoROPS have been conducted in accordance with SAE standard J2194. Additionally, timed trials of the AutoROPS deployment mechanism were completed. The results of these tests show that the NIOSH AutoROPS has significant potential to overcome the limitations of current ROPS designs for use in low clearance as well as unrestricted clearance operations.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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