Keeping Safe with a ROPS

A ROPS (Rollover Protective Structure) keeps you safe on your tractor. While it’s probably not first on your mind as you drive into your field, tractor rollovers are the leading cause of death and injury on a farm. However, having a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) is 99% effective.

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Overturns – the leading cause of serious injury or death can be prevented with a ROPS

Here’s what Tom Younkman of Stoney Brook Farm in Hyde Park said,“It’s a no brainer.   I’d had an accident and I didn’t want that to happen to my children, my grandchildren, or anyone. I applied online to a ROPS rebate program.

As Tom described the process, “John Deere Company furnished a ROPS that would fit my tractor and it came with everything in a box, easy to install.  I installed it on the farm in my own shop.”

While ROPS retrofit kits may be available from major tractor dealers, many are available from three or four companies that manufacture “universal” certified retrofit ROPS.

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Tom Younkman, Stoney Brook Farm, driving his tractor with the ROPS he installed himself.

A smaller ROPS weighs about 370 lbs; larger tractors mean heavier ROPS. A fold-down ROPS as Tom Youngman purchased for his John Deere has five main pieces (two lower uprights, two upper uprights, and one top crosspiece) plus the bolts, nuts, and anchor plates.

While Tom ordered his ROPS kit on-line and had the experience and tools at the ready to install the ROPS in his own shop, ease of installation may not always be the case.

ROPS parts

ROPS kit with all bolts and other pieces for assembly

As one one mechanic from Champlain Valley Equipment described the process, “it took me a long time to get the parts – they needed to be back-ordered and then I couldn’t get the bars to fit correctly so the ROPS would not bolt on.

However, don’t let the installation process put you off as help is available. George Cook, UVM Extension, explains, “Realistically, ROPS retrofits will take three to four hours, even by an experienced mechanic.” To get started, George recommends calling the ROPS Rebate hotline (1-877-ROPS-R4U or 1-877-767-7748) or go to www.ROPSR4U.com.  Not only will you receive advice for your particular tractor, you’ll also be able to receive up to 70% off the cost of getting a ROPS.

The ROPS Rebate program staff will research and provide you with key information as to:

  • Whether there is a certified ROPS available for your make and model of tractor,
  • Type of equipment needed and whether a fold-down option is available,
  • Where and from what company the ROPS is available as more than one option may be available,
  • Estimated costs including shipping.

You can order the ROPS from whichever source you choose as long as the ROPS are SAE Certified. While it is recommended that you have your roll bar be professionally installed, you have the option of self-installing if you provide a “before” and “after” photo as proof of installation.

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Howard Cook at the wheel after installing his ROPS with UVM Extension Safety specialist George Cook 

Having a ROPS on your tractor is a lifesaver, so the decision to purchase a ROPS is a “no-brainer,” as Tom Younkman tells us. Deciding where the installation will take place and who will do it is a separate decision. Certified installation at a dealership is recommended though if you’re still considering doing this yourself, read this “pause for thought

Coming soon is a National Rebates for ROPS Program, with a roll-out goal of fall, 2016. This will follow closely the program that has been conducted in New York and Vermont.

If you’re driving a tractor without a ROPS, don’t wait and risk your life. Contact 1-877-ROPS-R4U or 1-877-767-7748) or go to ROPSR4U.com. 

 

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About Suzy Hodgson

Suzy works on and writes about issues at the intersections of risk, climate, economics, food, waste, and energy. She is based at UVM Extension's Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
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