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Trends in tractor overturn fatalities and the prevalence of roll-over protective Structures (ROPS) in the U.S.

J Agromed 2010 Jul; 15(3):323-324
Tractor overturns remain the leading cause of occupational death on US farms. Roll-over Protective Structures (ROPS) have been recommended as an engineering control to prevent these deaths. This work examines trends in overturn fatality rates and ROPS prevalence rates on US farms since the early 1990's, and approaches for targeting ROPS promotion activities. Trends in tractor overturn fatalities were assessed with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries using Poisson regression. ROPS prevalence rate trends were assessed with data from national farm operator surveys using logistic regression. The farm operator surveys were collected for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Associations between state ROPS prevalence data and Census of Agriculture data were used to develop a model to predict counties with low ROPS prevalence rates. The rate of tractor overturn deaths decreased an estimated 28.5% between 1992 and 2007, with the largest deceases occurring since 2004. Between 1993 and 2006, the prevalence of ROPS-equipped tractors on farms increased from 38% to 59%. The regions of the US that had the largest decrease in tractor overturn fatality rates also had the largest increase in ROPS prevalence rates. States with the lowest prevalence of ROPS-equipped tractors had a 5-fold increased risk for tractor overturn deaths. Logistic regression models fitting state ROPS prevalence rates against Census of Agriculture data show promise in identifying counties with low ROPS prevalence rates. These results support the position that ROPS are effective in preventing tractor overturn deaths. In addition, results show how well the effort to increase the use of ROPS has progressed in the US and identify areas of the US where ROPS prevalence rates are not adequate. This information is useful for targeting ROPS promotion activities. Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this abstract have not been formally disseminated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.
Agriculture; Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Farmers; Work-practices; Worker-health; Safety-practices; Safety-research; Injury-prevention; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Tractors; Statistical-analysis
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Journal of Agromedicine