About 40 percent of U.S. tractors in service lack rollover protective systems, the authors wrote.

National Coalition Working on Tractor Safety Retrofits

The goals are to find a national funding source and an adequate supply of the rollover protective systems (ROPS) needed for older tractors.

The NIOSH Science Blog has featured an Aug. 12 report by two staffers with the Northeast Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Safety and Health/New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, Dr. Julie Sorensen, Ph.D., and Pam Tinc, MPH, about the National Tractor Safety Coalition's plan for a national program to install rollover protective systems (ROPS) on older tractors that lack them. Sorensen is the director and Tinc is the research coordinator.

Their article notes that U.S. agriculture's occupational fatal injury rate is estimated to be 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers, roughly six times higher than the 3.2 per 100,000 workers rate for all workers. Tractor overturns are the most frequent cause of farm fatalities and can be prevented by installing a roll bar and seat belt, but about 40 percent of U.S. tractors lack these, according to the article, which says older farmers, part-time farmers, and low-income farms are most frequently lacking ROPS protection.

While local and regional programs have made headway, there is no national program promoting ROPS to high-risk farmers. That’s why representatives of the 12-member National Tractor Safety Coalition Steering Committee met in Chicago during May 2014 to map out a National ROPS Initiative, Sorensen and Tinc reported. They explain the "Systems Thinking" methodology used during the meeting and list the group's goals, which include developing educational materials, raising money, and ensuring a reliable, cost-effective supply of ROPS.

Organizations interested in joining the coalition are asked to contact Tinc at pam.tinc@bassett.org or 800-343-7527.

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