May 27, 2010

Research shows that rollover protective structures (ROPS), when used in combination with a seatbelt, are 98 percent effective in preventing death and serious injury in the event of a tractor overturn. Nevertheless, more than a third of tractors in use today – and perhaps as many as 50 percent in Kentucky -- still do not have these lifesaving structures.

“We know that rollover injuries are preventable,” said Mark Purschwitz, extension professor and agricultural safety and health specialist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. “We just need to help farmers see the importance of having ROPS on their equipment and then provide information that helps them do it.”

To that end, Purschwitz and his colleagues at UK developed The Kentucky ROPS Guide to help farmers locate retrofit ROPS for older tractors or even “gray market” tractors (i.e., non-U.S. made tractors imported without manufacturer authorization). The guide is now available online at

“The guide is designed for farmers, dealers and technicians not only in Kentucky but also throughout the United States and Canada,” he said. “It enables users to quickly determine what ROPS are available for which tractors, which companies supply retrofit ROPS, and how and where to obtain these ROPS.”

Purschwitz explained the guide offers a full search capability, enabling any tractor owner, equipment dealer or technician to find timely, detailed information about ROPS suppliers and types. Guide users may also determine the availability, source and ordering procedures for retrofit ROPS for any domestic or imported agricultural tractor in the United States for which a retrofit is available.

“The days of searching through scattered computer records and paperwork are over,” he said.

Several features of the new online guide are particularly easy to use. Notably, users can search the guide by simply selecting a tractor make and model number. The guide’s database includes makes and models of “gray market” tractors, particularly Japanese compact tractors, frequently sold in the U.S. market today.

Development of The Kentucky ROPS Guide was supported by the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Cooperative Agreement U50 OH007547-07S1.