Back to Basics: Here’s What You Need to Know About Roll Over Protection
Whether you’ve worked with heavy equipment your whole life or you’re just starting, there’s no question that safety should be at the top of your list of priorities. With an estimated market share of 10%, the U.S. is considered the second largest player in the construction industry, which means that the safety measures in this country need to be top notch.
But what about people who work off of construction sites and on farms and other locations that use heavy equipment? Their safety measures are just as rigorous, especially roll over protection.
Why Is There an Emphasis on Tractors?
Tractor rollovers are the single deadliest type of injury on farms in the United States. The latest figures from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggest that there are approximately 130 tractor rollover fatalities annually. NIOSH estimates that there are 4.8 million tractors in use on U.S. farms, and one-half of them aren’t equipped with proper rollover protection for the operator.
What Are Roll Over Protection Structures?
When working with heavy equipment, OSHA standards dictate a certain distance (as well as other guidelines), but rollover protection structures (ROPS) are tractor cabs, bars, or cages designed for agricultural tractors. ROPS are designed to create a protective zone around the operator if a rollover occurs. When used with a seat belt, the ROPS can prevent the operator from being thrown from the protective zone and crushed from an overturning tractor or other equipment.
Can People Make Their Own ROPS?
ROPS are made to very detailed specifications and put through a series of rigorous tests in order to meet the requirements set forth. Tractor ROPS are designed with operators in mind, and must be able to withstand extreme amounts of stress. These tractor cabs are carefully engineered and tested so that every joint, every piece of steel, and every fastener, in conjunction with the appropriate tractor, withstands the necessary stresses and strains and performs properly. Consequently, there’s no guarantee that a homemade ROPS for tractors would perform.
Unless you’re one of the 7.8 million production workers in the U.S. industry, you shouldn’t attempt to build a ROPS yourself. However, as an operator of heavy equipment and tractors, you should know all of the safety procedures that need to be put in place beforehand.