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Increasing Tractor Operator Protection through NIOSH CROPS Research

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1008732.(doi:10.13031/2013.29716)
Authors:   E A McKenzie, Jr., Ph.D., J R Harris, Ph.D.
Keywords:   Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS), Standards, Research, Fatalities, Injury

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has conducted research and testing on wheeled agricultural tractor rollover protective structures (ROPS) to retro-fit older (pre 1985) tractor models. This research is aligned with the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AFF) industry sector goal to reduce fatalities due to tractor overturns and the Traumatic Injury (TI) cross-sector goal to increase the use of ROPS on tractors. NIOSH researchers developed a cost-effective ROPS (CROPS) to be used on older wheeled agricultural tractors as an alternative to: (a) no ROPS, (b) hard to find ROPS, or (c) costly ROPS. The CROPS is an almost entirely bolted assembly with minimal welds. Some of the parts need to be manufactured by a facility that can bend inch (13 mm) thick plate steel (A572-Grade 50), while other parts can be manufactured using a band saw and a drill press. One part requires a professional welder to ensure structural performance in cold weather (-40 F). Based upon previous NIOSH research, six tractor models were identified for the program. The six models were: (1) Ford 3000, (2) Ford 4000, (3) Ford 8N, (4) Massey Ferguson 135, (5) Farmall M, and (6) Farmall H. Each CROPS for the tractor models listed was successfully tested in accordance with SAE J2194. With the development of these six basic designs, 64 tractor models can utilize the appropriate CROPS design. The results of this research show that cost-effective ROPS alternatives can be fabricated to meet the structural requirements of SAE J2194. The implementation of the CROPS designs (and seatbelt) would suggest that the operator would have equal protection as compared with a factory ROPS (and seatbelt) designed and tested in accordance with the SAE J2194 standard.

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