Farm Tractor Fatalities: The Failure of Voluntary Safety Standards

  • Karlson, Trudy;
  • Noren, Jay


There are no governmental standards for operator protection which require compliance by farm tractor manufacturers. To see how the Wisconsin farming population fares under voluntary safety standards, death certificate data were used to determine rates of tractor-associated fatal injuries. The injury death rate associated with tractors on farms increased from 10.9 per 100,000 male farm residents during 1961-1965 to 13.6/100,000 during 1971-1975 (p < .05). Deaths associated with overturning tractors were most common; with death rates of 6/100,000 male farm residents for 1961-1975. The rise in tractor-associated death rates shows that voluntary safety standards are not protecting the farm population.

Rollover protective structures (ROPS) are designed to protect operators when tractors overturn but under voluntary safety standards these ROPS are sold only as optional accessory devices. Current Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations which require ROPS for employees operating tractors do not protect self- employed farmers and their families. It is recommended that the government require all tractors sold to be equipped with ROPS as is currently the case in England and Sweden.


JOURNAL: Am J Public Health. 1979; 69(2): 146-149.

Note: American Journal of Public Health.

NLOM ID#: 79101529 .

Publication #: 79101529

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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