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Implementing and developing industry standards in the design of agricultural safety systems.

McKenzie EA; Ronaghi M; Powers JR; Lutz TJ
Safety 2007: Proceedings of the 2007 ASSE Professional Development Conference, Orlando, Florida, June 24-27, 2007. Des Plaines, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers, 2007 Jun; :1-13
In 1993, approximately 132 agricultural tractor overturn fatalities occurred per year (Myers and Snyder, 1993). Ten years later, the number of fatalities is still in excess of 100 each year (Myers, 2003). The use of rollover protective structures (ROPS) on farm tractors, along with operator seat belt use, is the best known method for preventing these fatalities. One impediment to universal ROPS use, however, is low-clearance situations, such as orchards and animal confinement buildings. These agricultural low-clearance environments, involving "low-profile" tractors where traditional ROPS may not be feasible, are exempted from ROPS use as stated in OSHA 1928.5l(b)(5)(i & ii). To address the need for ROPS that are easily adapted to low clearance situations, the Division of Safety Research (DSR), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), developed a passive safety device to protect tractor operators in an overturn event. The automatically deploying, telescoping ROPS (AutoROPS) consists of two subsystems. The first is a retractable ROPS that is normally mounted to the tractor axle and latched in its lowered position for day-to-day use. The second subsystem is a sensor that monitors the operating angle and rate of roll on two axes of the tractor. If an overturn condition is detected by the sensor, the retracted ROPS will deploy and lock in the full upright position before ground contact. The AutoROPS has been tested under both field and laboratory conditions prescribed in the ROPS performance industry standard, SAE J2194. The adoption of such a new agricultural safety device is based upon compliance with the existing industry standards and the development of new performance standards when necessary. This presentation will describe the process of: (a) determining the necessary standards for design and testing criteria, (b) interpretation of the chosen standards, (c) implementing the testing procedures described in the standard to new and existing agricultural safety devices or systems, and (d) developing new performance standards in conjunction with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agriculture; Safety-engineering; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Injury-prevention; Standards; Agricultural-machinery
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Safety 2007: Proceedings of the 2007 ASSE Professional Development Conference, Orlando, Florida, June 24-27, 2007
Page last reviewed: January 20, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division