By Pam Tinc, Senior Research Coordinator
Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
In June 2010, New York Farm Bureau member David Huse was returning home after a day of mowing hay on a friend’s farm when he was struck by an oncoming car that hit his tractor and flipped the tractor on top of him. David’s death was a tremendous blow to friends, family and business partners, as well as to the larger agricultural community, who lost a passionate and outspoken advocate for sustainable farming in New York. David’s neighbor and business partner, Judy Pangman, wrote the following in a heartfelt letter to her local legislator in response to this tragedy:
“For farmers, everyday brings a new challenge. Getting to and from our fields safely should not be our most difficult and deadly challenge. We need to make farming safer to prevent the loss of our friends, children and other family members, and employees in such senseless accidents and request your assistance and support. We miss David terribly every day. Please help us make farming safer for everyone.”
Tractors are an essential piece of farming equipment, but they can also be one of the most dangerous. Studies have shown that the leading cause of death and permanently crippling injuries on a farm is due to tractor rollovers, and the Northeast has the highest rate of overturn fatalities in the nation. In the event of a rollover, the use of a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and a seatbelt reduces the risk of injury by 99 percent. Wearing a seatbelt on a ROPS protected tractor will keep you within the “zone of safety” in the event of an overturn. While using a seatbelt with your ROPS will give you complete protection, the rollbar alone still greatly increases your chance of survival.
Though newer tractors come equipped with ROPS and retrofit ROPS kits are commercially available for many older tractors, nearly half of tractors on US farms remain unprotected. For many farmers, the cost and time required to retrofit a tractor are low priority, given the many other items needing attention on the farm. To make it easier for farmers like you to retrofit their tractors and keep themselves, and their family, safe, we created the ROPS Rebate Program more than ten years ago.
You may have heard about, or participated in, the ROPS Rebate Program. Since 2006, we’ve retrofitted over 2,300 tractors in seven states, and more farmers are calling every day to sign up. The Program rebates farmers approximately 70% of the cost of retrofitting a tractor, including the ROPS kit, shipping, and installation (if applicable)…
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