Research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Division of Safety Research, Morgantown, West Virginia, is addressing the problem of injuries due to agricultural tractor rollovers and improvements to rollover protective structures (ROPS). As part of this research, the NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory modified a Ford model 4600 agricultural tractor for remote control operation and used this tractor to conduct SAE field upset tests. Modifications to the tractor involved installing a protective framework, electrical actuators for fuel, brake, clutch, steering controls, and a radio link for remote operation. The tractor has been used to complete more than 30 total side and back upset tests, with no failures of the remote control system. These tests have allowed NIOSH researchers to study the performance of currently available ROPS, use this information for the development of improved ROPS designs, and test a NIOSH-developed prototype automatically deploying ROPS.
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236