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Development of the Safe Tractor Assessment Rating System

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 11(3): 353-364. (doi: 10.13031/2013.18578) @2005
Authors:   L. Day, M. Scott, R. Williams, G. Rechnitzer, P. Walsh, S. Boyle
Keywords:   Accident prevention, Agricultural injuries, Agricultural machinery industry, Design, Passive protection, Tractor

We describe the development of the Safe Tractor Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a design-based tractor safety rating system that can be applied to new or used tractors to provide an objective assessment of their inherent safety features. A predictive rating system model, based on technical inspection, was used. Key principles underlying the system included the potential for design features to reduce the risk of an injury event occurring, and to reduce the risk of injury if such an event did occur. The rating system was based on current standards, research literature, injury and fatality data, and farmer input via focus groups. Development was an iterative process involving field, pilot, and inter-rater reliability tests. The final system was divided into six domains: rollover protection, runover protection, user protection, information and controls, pedestrian protection, and options. Within each domain, optimum design features were described for the common or serious potential injury risks, and a score was assigned for each feature. Scores were translated into a star rating, from zero stars for virtually no inherent safety features to five stars for the highest inherent safety, for each of the six domains. STARS distinguished well between older tractor models known to have few inherent safety features and newer tractor models known to have higher levels of inherent safety. STARS can provide tractor manufacturers, dealers, and users with information critical for managing tractor-associated injury risk. In Australia, it is initially being implemented within the curriculum of the technical education and training sector.

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