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NORA Economics Sector Strategic Goals

927ZAYZ - Increasing Adoption of CROPS by Farmers and Manufacturers

Start Date: 10/1/2007
End Date: 9/30/2011

Principal Investigator (PI)
Phone: (304) 285-6068
Organization: NIOSH
Division: DSR

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed

Attributed to Economics


Project Description


According to the Department of Labor (DOL), over 1,000 workers have died from tractor overturns between 1992 and 2004. The majority of fatalities could have been prevented with the use of a rollover protective structure (ROPS). It is estimated that about half of the 4.8 million tractors in the United States currently do not have ROPS installed. Earlier research indicated that adoption of retrofit ROPS technology for older tractors is impeded by the costs, complexity of this modification, usability, and storage of the tractor with ROPS. To overcome these barriers, NIOSH designed a prototype of a cost-effective ROPS (CROPS). Projected retrofit costs are $450, compared to $1,000, and the installation complexity is significantly reduced. NIOSH has developed CROPS prototype designs for five common tractor models. However, this technology has not been transferred to the workplace, suggesting that the barriers to adoption and implementation are more complex than previously believed.


This project will identify barriers to ROPS installation and approaches for encouraging farmers to retrofit their tractors with Cost-Effective Roll-Over Protection Structures (CROPS) using stakeholder input. With the assistance of partners, the initial phase of the project will identify the study population -- farmers in two selected states who use tractors for which a CROPS prototype has been developed and tested by NIOSH. New York and Virginia were selected because of their high number of tractor roll-over fatalities and well established working relationships between NIOSH, its' partners, and the States' farm population. The research findings will be incorporated into social marketing strategies developed through the National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative. However, barriers identified may point to other strategies for effective transfer of technology, such as design modification, that can be disseminated and explored in future efforts. Finally, this project will serve as a pilot to determine if using multiple approaches is an effective model for identifying barriers to adoption. If so, this model could be applied to engineering controls and other occupational safety and health intervention in future research efforts to improve technology transfer.


The project will identify barriers to installing roll-over protection and approaches for stimulating farmers to retrofit their tractors with Cost-Effective Roll-Over Protection Structures (CROPS). It will also enable two current tractor retrofitting programs in different states to have an option of utilizing lower cost CROPS for retrofitting tractors, thereby increasing the number of tractors that can be retrofitted.