Licensed Professional Engineers

Tractors (855) 627-6273

Tractors are the cause of numerous fatalities and debilitating injuries every year. Most of these are the result of tractor overturns. The high center of gravity that most tractors have make it susceptible to overturns. The wide range of uneven and unstable terrain that tractors encounter compounds the problem of high center of gravity and overturns. Operating tractors on ground that is not horizontal also drastically increases the chance of overturning a tractor. The solution to this simple problem is the use of safeguards. Roll Over Protective Structures (ROPS) for tractors are the best safeguarding solution to overturn hazards, when used in conjunction with an interlocked seat belt. While the hierarchy of design calls for eliminating the hazard of a design, for tractors this would mean changing the configuration of the tractor to lower the center of gravity. This is the best solution, although it could be argued that the function of the tractor necessitates a high center of gravity design. This is not necessarily true, and the modern tractor as we know it was first designed before the 1950's. The time has come for a new design that is not susceptible to overturn accidents. The reality for most tractor manufacturers is the use of a safeguard, in this case a roll-over protective structure, ROPS, combined with an operator seatbelt. The ROPS is a heavy-duty frame that protects the operator area in the event of an overturn. The seatbelt is necessary to keep the operator within the protected operator area. Some manufacturers are now producing tractors with ROPS as standard equipment. Others offer them as optional equipment, or do not offer them at all. Older tractors without ROPS have not been recalled and continue to kill farmers regularly. OSHA declared in 1976 that all tractors should be equipped with ROPS, but their jurisdiction applies only to employer-employee situations, and as such does not apply to family-run farms. Various states have required ROPS to be standard equipment, as have various organizations and agencies. The low-cost and simplicity of ROPS and seatbelts make it a simple solution to the problem of overturns. Tractor manufacturers that fail to provide the necessary protection may be held responsible for injuries caused by the machine. MASE has extensive experience in testing tractors to determine their stability and likelihood to overturn. We have been involved in numerous tractor overturn cases, and can provide the necessary engineering expertise for your case.