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MACHINE SAFETY

Projects

Utilization of CROPS Designs in Retrofit Program
Approximately 4.2 million tractors are in use on farms and ranches across the United States. The average age of an agricultural tractor is over 25 years. Some of the oldest model tractors are the most popular. Generally, older tractors are not as safe as newer tractors. Many older tractors are operated by populations at the greatest risk of becoming injured or killed. The rollover protective structure (ROPS), a key tractor safety intervention, is missing from most tractors manufactured before 1985. The purpose of this Public Health Practice project was to increase the level of rollover protection for tractor operators (farmers) and to increase their general knowledge in farm-related safety information. This project addressed the need to offer ROPS to pre-1985 agricultural tractors specifically the Ford 8N and Massey Ferguson 135. It was an addition to the already-established ROPS retrofit program operated by The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH). The NYCAMH retrofit ROPS program has been in operation since November 2006. The adoption (installation) of the ROPS technology developed by NIOSH increased the level of rollover protection for tractor operators (farmers) and increased their knowledge of farm-related safety in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, California and West Virginia. A total of 32 CROPS were installed in the five states as a direct result of this project, and additional 50 CROPS were installed in New York and Virginia as an indirect output of this project.

Project contact: Tony McKenzie, Ph.D., P.E.
Protective Technology Branch
(304) 285-6064
Project period: 2009–2012

ROPS Attribute Identification by Channel Intermediary
This is a pilot project to determine the utility of ROPS parts dealers in providing actionable information on various aspects of ROPS configuration, desired attributes, and relevant variables for promotion and acceptance of retrofit ROPS for farm populations at risk of injury from the overturn of unprotected farm tractors. This project partnered with the New York Center for Agriculture Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) to determine the optimal choice configuration for sets of attributes and most desirable attributes for tractor retrofit ROPS, as determined by preference selection by tractor parts dealers. The dealers selected for participation in this project understand consumer demand and manufacturer constraints. Distribution channels for tractor parts are geographically distributed across the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and these dealers have unique knowledge of demand and preferred configurations of ROPS for the different kinds of farming encountered within these states. The 500-some members of North American Equipment Dealers Association within these four states constituted the study population. A mail survey was jointly prepared by a qualitative research specialist at NYCAMH and a health communications specialist in NIOSH, and the survey was administered by NIOSH. Publication and dissemination of research findings will be through a trade association publication.

Project contact: Paul Keane
Protective Technology Branch
(304) 285-5901
Project period: 2009–2015

Fall Injury Controls and Interventions for Aerial Lifts
The objective of this study was to identify fall protection strategies and recommend effective intervention programs to workers who are at risk of injury from work at elevation on aerial lifts. This project had three study components: (1) biomechanical and mechanical assessment of harness/lanyard use by aerial lift operators; (2) establishment of lift stability margins and their impact on operators; and (3) evaluation of fall hazards and relevant intervention effectiveness. This project addressed strategic priorities for prevention of traumatic injuries for two out of the four leading causes (i.e., falls and machines) of fatal injury, and one of the priority industries (i.e., construction). The outputs of this project provide information associated with fall protection systems to aerial-lift standards committees, industries, and interested parties.

Project contact: Christopher Pan, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch
(304) 285-5979
Project period: 2007–2011

Commercialization of a Cost-effective ROPS (CROPS) Design
The long-term goal of this project was to increase the portion of tractors in the United States that have a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and seatbelt installed. NIOSH accomplished this by using ROPS manufacturers to transfer designs for cost-effective ROPS (CROPS) developed in previous NIOSH research to the commercial market. Millions of tractors in the United States do not have ROPS, and cost can be an important factor when a farmer considers placing ROPS on his/her tractor. Prototype designs developed by NIOSH are estimated to cost less than half the installed cost of a typical commercial ROPS. As a result of this project, farmers now have additional, lower-cost options for fitting a ROPS to their tractor. A website on NIOSH CROPS development is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aginjury/CROPS/default.html.

Project contact: Hongwei Hsiao, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch
(304) 285-5910
Project period: 2003–2004

Evaluate U.S. Adaptation of European Machinery Risk Reduction Program
The project was an intervention evaluation of the new ANSI B11-TR3 Machinery Risk Assessment/Risk Reduction (RA/RR) guideline and training for its use. The TR3 intervention was introduced into 12 companies on two machinery systems in each company. In FY02, NIOSH partnered with a private-sector contractor to conduct the evaluation. Evaluation measures included avoided injuries, reduced exposure to machinery hazards, pre-test and post-test knowledge demonstration, assessment of group processes following training, correct implementation of the guidelines, and degree to which risk reduction recommendations are implemented. The application of the validated risk assessment methodology has guided machinery designer/user teams to implement protective measures appropriate to the risk, with a resultant reduction in machinery-related injury.

Project contact: Hongwei Hsiao, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch
(304)285-5910
Project period: 2001–2005

Lockout/Tagout, Jammed and Moving Machinery Controls/DSR
This safety engineering project focused on the skills of NIOSH experts to develop automatic protection from hazardous machine energy. An engineering control (JamAlert) was designed, tested, and patented (US 7,493,854) to eliminate the need for workers to always be responsible for shutting off horizontal baling machinery before performing clearing, unjamming, and inspecting at dangerous locations. In U.S. workplaces, failure to control hazardous machine energy is the primary cause of traumatic injuries, such as amputations and crush fatalities. The specific aim for this research was to prevent crushing hazards for jam-clearing with horizontal baling equipment. The findings from this research have been shared with the ANSI Z245.5 standards committee, “Baling Equipment Safety” standard and could be used by a company to design new control systems for horizontal balers to prevent or reduce crushing injuries and fatalities.

Project contact: John Powers
Protective Technology Branch
Project period: 2000–2005

New Technology to Increase ROPS Use on Tractors
This safety engineering project employed technical skills and instrumentation to work on a common injury prevention problem: too many tractors still do not have ROPS, a proven, effective injury prevention device. Over 60% of tractors in use do not have ROPS installed. Specific targets of the research are a simpler, more economical ROPS design for retrofitting older tractors; field tests of a self-deploying structure for use when overhead clearance is restricted; field tests of a sensor that detects an imminent rollover and can initiate deployment of a self-deploying structure; and analysis of composite materials to reduce the weight of adjustable structures and improve the corrosion resistance of ROPS designs. As a result of this project, U.S. industry and tractor owners have the capabilities to equip significantly more tractors with ROPS.

Project contact: Tony McKenzie, Ph.D., P.E.
Protective Technology Branch
Project period: 1999–2004

RF Safety System to Protect Workers from Caught-In Injury
The objective of this control technology project was to design a radio frequency (RF)-based safety system to protect agriculture workers from machinery-related caught-in accidents. The system consists of a small worker-worn, low-power RF transmitter to transmit a modulated RF signal throughout the worker’s body and an RF receiver with two proximity-sensing antennas mounted in parallel around a wood chipper’s feed chute. By analyzing the relative strength of the RF signals from the antennas, the receiver recognizes the worker’s proximity to the chute and initiates the alarm, shut-down or feed-roll reversal mechanism. The system also provides redundant lockout protection during repair and maintenance. This low cost (less than $100) proximity protection system could be easily applied to various grinding, chopping, stamping, and press-type machines to effectively reduce machinery-related caught-in traumatic injuries.

Project contact: John Powers
Protective Technology Branch
Project period: 1999–2003

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