The agricultural department of Pennsylvania State University is spreading the word about a life-saving device that will help farmers when their tractors roll over.
Known as ROPS (rollover protective structures), the device is also being installed by the College of Agricultural Sciences. The ROPS Retrofit Program for Pennsylvania Farmers began January 4 at the Keystone Farm Show at the York Fairgrounds.
"Between 2000 and 2008, Pennsylvania recorded 58 farm-related, tractor-rollover deaths," said Aaron Yoder, an instructor in agricultural and biological engineering. "Agriculture continues to be recognized as the most dangerous industry in the United States. One major reason for this is tractor rollovers. In Pennsylvania, tractor incidents account for about half of all farm-related fatalities each year, and half of these are related to rollovers."
Yoder said ROPS prevents tractor rolls by 90 degrees, which is by design. If a tractor rolls while equipped with the safety measure, it would tumble on its side or on its end.
"The protective equipment is beneficial for all farmers, not just farmers who live in areas with a lot of hills," said Yoder, who also works as an extension safety specialist. "Even if you're pulling something out of the ground with it hitched improperly, the tractor could roll over backward."