According to the National Safety Council, the agricultural, forestry and fishing sector has the highest rate of work-related deaths when compared to all other U.S. industries. Tractor overturns are the most frequent cause of fatality in the agricultural community and with their elimination, estimates indicate that the rate of occupational death could be reduced by 25%. In the past several years the Northeast Center for Agricultural Health (NEC) has worked to develop an intervention model which has significantly increased retrofitting activity in New York.
This intervention model works to make retrofitting both easy and cost-effective. Specifically, the ROPS (rollover protective structure) Rebate Program provides toll free hotline assistance to farmers in locating and pricing certified rollbars and provides a rebate of 70% of the entire cost of the retrofit with a maximum rebate of $865. While professional installation is recommended, program participants have the option of self installing.
IMPACT: Efforts to expand this intervention model into the neighboring states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania have been completed. The New York program, now in its sixth year, has retrofitted over 1,000 tractors. The newly launched programs in Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania have retrofitted nearly 50 tractors thus far. Surveys conducted with roughly half of these retrofitters have identified 95 potentially fatal events without an serious injury on these newly-retrofitted tractors.
FUTURE EFFORTS: A key element to the success of the New York model and one which will be vital to the development of successful interventions in other states will be support from policy makers and members of the agricultural service community. Researchers at the NEC have already established fruitful partnerships with many of these individuals. Such coalitions are essential for state-based initiatives aiming to launch their own successful initiatives.