NORA 2011 Partnering Award Honors Research on Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program


July 13, 2011
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Nura Sadeghpour, (202) 245-0673

The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Partnering Award 2011 was presented on July 12 for a collaboration that represents exemplary teamwork, innovative thinking, and strong science in conducting and applying research for the prevention of work-related tractor injuries.

The award was presented at NORA Symposium 2011, held in Cincinnati, Ohio, by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the University of Cincinnati, Department of Environmental Health, and the University of Cincinnati Education and Research Center. The symposium convened researchers and practitioners from government, industry, labor, and universities who partner to design, support, conduct, and use the products of occupational safety and health research under the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). The winners were partners from the farming communities, manufacturers, academia, government and insurance.

The ROPS Rebate Program Partnership was launched in 2006 to increase the use of Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS) in order to reduce the number of fatalities due to overturns of tractors in agriculture. Although tractor overturn fatalities have been virtually eliminated in other developed countries through a combination of legislation and financial assistance, these mandates do not exist in the US. Consequently, roughly half of U.S. tractors lack ROPS protection. Repeated education interventions and more recently proposed policy interventions have failed to successfully promote installation of ROPS. The program focused on small crop and livestock farms that data showed accounted for 86% of farms with none or only one ROPS protected tractor.

The program used advertising and social media to educate and motivate farmers to make changes in order to prevent injury to themselves, their family or their employees. It also established a toll-free hotline to assist farmers with identifying the various ROPS options for their tractor. Grant funded rebate programs were established for the cost of retrofitting to address the considerable cost of purchasing and installing ROPS ($700–$1000). Other partners such as the NY Farm Bureau, the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association, and Farm Family Insurance helped promote the program through mailings to memberships, and free advertising and articles about the ROPS program in their newsletters.

Results showed that at the end of the initial 12 months of the program expansion over 900 farmers had contacted the hotline, with roughly 300 committing to order a ROPS kit. After four years, 840 farmers have installed ROPS through the program and 63 potentially fatal incidents have been documented among roughly 500 of these participants. In 2010/2011 the program expanded into VT, PA and NH and several other states, such as IA, MD and OH, have indicated interest in launching the program.

Recipients of the NORA Partnering Award 2011 are:

  • John May, MD and Julie Sorensen, PhD from the Northeast Center for Agricultural and Occupational Health
  • A team effort from the Small Crop and Livestock Farmer Advisory Group: John Lyons, Jim Judski, Carl Taber, James Minn, Ed Gates, Richard Carrier, John Pronko, Bruce Banks, Ted Teletnick, Steve Sinniger, Jeff Martin, Alan Pullis, and David Collins
  • Ralph Gaiss from the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association
  • Rosemary Shader from the Farm Family Insurance
  • Collaboration with Pennsylvania State University researchers, Dennis Murphy, PhD and Aaron Yoder, PhD; and George Cook along with Matt Myers from the University of Vermont Extension
  • Lorraine Merrill with the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food
  • Julie Suarez from the New York Farm Bureau
  • Mike DeSpain with John Deere and Company
  • King Whetstone from the National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • John Strand and Bithiah Lafontant from the Academy for Educational Development (AED), Center for Social Marketing and Behavior Change

More information about the project, the NORA Partnering Award 2011 and NORA is available at

Page last reviewed: July 13, 2011