Rollover protection structures (ROPS)

Rollover protection structures (ROPS) are metal bars (i.e., rollbars), frames, or crush proof cabs on tractors and other farm equipment designed to provide a safety zone for an operator in the event of a rollover or overturn (ROPSR4U). Since 1985, a national, voluntary standard has made ROPS standard equipment on all new tractors. Retrofits are available for many older tractors, but can be prohibitively expensive. Frames for ROPS retrofit must pass static or dynamic crush tests to ensure ability to withstand loads and impact (IA Extension-ROPS).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Reduced fatal and non-fatal injuries

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that rollover protection structures (ROPS) reduce agricultural fatalities and injuries from a tractor overturn (, , ). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Agricultural fatality rates are highest in areas of the United States where ROPS are least widely used (). As use of ROPS has increased, agricultural fatality rates have decreased (). The effectiveness of ROPS is limited when drivers do not wear seat belts (); seatbelt use further decreases injuries and fatalities (, ). 

A survey of ROPS adoption in the US indicates that younger farmers and farms with $100,000 or more of farm product sales are most likely to use ROPS-equipped tractors (). Some researchers suggest incentives to encourage farmers to install ROPS (). A New York state social marketing campaign incorporating ROPS rebates, messages, and other promotional activities increased ROPS sales () and positively influenced readiness and intention to retrofit tractors (). An Australia-based study suggests mandatory tractor retrofit legislation combined with a rebate program can increase the number of ROPS equipped tractors but may not directly impact fatalities ().

Rollbar retrofit prices vary based on tractor model, from approximately $150 to $5,900. A ROPS kit with a rebate from the National ROPS Rebate Program costs an average of $391 (ROPSR4U).

Impact on Disparities

Likely to decrease disparities

Implementation Examples

As of February 2018, the National ROPS Rebate Program, funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), provides individual applicants with an up to 70% rebate for the cost of a ROPS retrofit kit (including rollbar and seatbelt), shipping, and professional installation in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Minnesota (ROPSR4U). The NIOSH Division of Safety Research and Protective Technology Branch developed a Cost-Effective Rollover Protective Structure (CROPS) for four old tractor models that lack commercially available ROPS (CDC-CROPS).

Implementation Resources

CDC-CROPS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cost-effective rollover protective structures (CROPS).

CDC-NIOSHASHC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NIOSH agricultural safety and health centers.

OSHA-Ag safety tractor - US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Agricultural safety fact sheet: Protecting agricultural workers from tractor hazards.

Citations - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

Hard 2011* - Hard DL, Myers JR. Adoption of rollover protective structures (ROPS) on US farm tractors by state: 1993-1995, 2001, and 2004. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 2011;17(2):157-72.

Murphy 2010* - Murphy DJ, Myers J, McKenzie EA, et al. Tractors and rollover protection in the United States. Journal of Agromedicine. 2010;15(3):249-63.

Reynolds 2000* - Reynolds SJ, Groves W. Effectiveness of roll-over protective structures in reducing farm tractor fatalities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2000;18(4 Suppl 1):63-9.

Sorensen 2011* - Sorensen JA, Jenkins PL, Emmelin M, et al. The social marketing of safety behaviors: A quasi-randomized controlled trial of tractor retrofitting incentives. American Journal of Public Health. 2011;101(4):678-84.

Sorensen 2008* - Sorensen JA, May J, Ostby-Malling R, et al. Encouraging the installation of rollover protective structures in New York State: The design of a social marketing intervention. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2008;36(8):859-69.

ROPSR4U - National ROPS Rebate Program. Retrofit your tractor.

Myers 2009* - Myers ML, Cole HP, Westneat SC. Injury severity related to overturn characteristics of tractors. Journal of Safety Research. 2009;40(2):165-170.

Alkhaledi 2013* - Alkhaledi K, Means K, McKenzie E, Smith J. Reducing occupational fatalities by using NIOSH 3rd generation automatically deployable rollover protective structure. Safety Science. 2013;51(1):427-431.

Jones 2013a* - Jones CB, Day L, Staines C. Trends in tractor related fatalities among adults working on farms in Victoria, Australia, 1985–2010. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2013;50:110-114.

Loringer 2008* - Loringer KA, Myers JR. Tracking the prevalence of rollover protective structures on U.S. farm tractors: 1993, 2001, and 2004. Journal of Safety Research. 2008;39(5):509-517.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

CDC-CROPS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cost-effective rollover protective structures (CROPS).

ROPSR4U - National ROPS Rebate Program. Retrofit your tractor.

Date Last Updated

Feb 20, 2018