The National Tractor Safety Initiative was formalized in
2004 with the release of the report National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative by
the NIOSH-funded Agricultural Safety and Health Centers. The report builds on many years of research and planning and demonstrates the commitment of NIOSH, the Agricultural Safety and Health Centers, and the National Children’s Center for Rural Agricultural Health and Safety to implementing its recommendations. Together,
we propose to reduce the number of tractor-related injuries
and fatalities in the US by:
- Improving surveillance and increasing the epidemiological information available
- Increasing the number of older tractors that get a roll bar with a seatbelt installed
- Increase the number of tractor operators who regularly wear seatbelts on roll bar-equipped tractors
- Decrease the frequency of extra riders on agricultural tractors
- Increase the use of properly maintained machine guards on PTO drivelines and the equipment they power
- Improve lighting and marking of tractors and other agricultural machines on the road
- Decrease the number of collision between such machines and motor vehicles
Tractor Projects Press Release March 2006 (pdf)
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Tractor Safety Advice Saves Lives (pdf) © News
Watch, Western Farmer Stockman, Helen Murphy
Copyright (c) 2009 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH DAILY
January 14, 2009
NIOSH: Study Calls for Incentives to Increase Use of Roll-Over Protection on Tractors
BYLINE: By Greg Hellman
A National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health study said incentive programs are necessary to increase the use of roll-over protective structures on U.S. tractors, especially among lower-income farmers. The study, co-authored by Kelly Loringer and John Myers, found the increase in roll-over protective structures has not significantly lowered tractor overturn deaths on farms, the leading cause of agricultural occupational deaths in United States. Between 1992 and 2005, 1,412 workers died on farms from tractor overturns, the study said. The NIOSH researchers found that while the prevalence of protective structures has increased from 38 percent to 51 percent between 1993 and 2004, the occupational fatality rate remained relatively stable. The study points to several European studies that found protective structures prevalence rates need to rise to between 75 and 81 percent before fatality rates begin to fall near zero. The study pins the incongruence on economic and age barriers. Lower-income farmers, or those whose value of sales average less than $ 100,000, often lack the capital to buy new tractors or retrofit older ones, it said.
Economic Incentive Program Most Promising.
The study calls an economic incentive program "the most promising approach" to increasing the prevalence of roll-over protective structures. It estimates the cost of national incentive program at $ 1.2 billion. "When you're trying to do interventions, the cost does impact what [farmers] are going to do," Myers told BNA Jan. 12. "Cost does impact the marginal people and whether the prioritize safety." Surveys also found that farmers older than age 60 often resist outfitting their tractors with protective structures, even though research shows they are most vulnerable to accidents, Myers said. Those farmers nearing retirement also do not have the same economic incentive as their younger counterparts, he said. "Older farm operators have the attitude that they've been farming for years," Myers said. "The notion of passing a farm down through families is slowly going away and I think they look at it as they're only going to be in the business for a couple more years and don't want to put any more capital down." OSHA's roll-over protective structures standard, adopted in 1976, requires all employers to equip all employee-operated tractors manufactured after Oct. 25, 1976, with protective structures and safety belts. The standard does not apply to family members and, according to the study, has not been enforced on farms with less than 11 full-time employees.
Study Hails New York Retrofit Rebate Program.
The study cites the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health's roll-over protective structures Retrofit Rebate Program as a model for incentive programs. The New York program, launched in 2006 after securing $ 200,000 in funding form the state legislature, has retrofitted 565 tractors, and is currently in the process of retrofitting an additional 65, Barbara Bayes, retrofit hotline coordinator for the program said. The program covers 70 percent of the total cost of a retrofit up to $ 765, she said.
David Strauss, executive director of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, told BNA Jan. 12 the problem of tractor overturns warrants a national program similar to that of New York. "[Tractor overturns] are the source of most serious danger on farms," he said. "It would be tremendously helpful to all farm workers to implement an incentive program."
Good Tractor Visuals
Demonstrate operators taking proper tractor safety steps
that have a roll bar and seatbelt
- Operator wearing the seatbelt
- Tractors with just the operator and no extra riders
Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has
an online database of "industry-recognized" safety
pictorial illustrations. This database is free of charge.
Learn about other tractor safety campaigns.
Contact a Tractor Safety Leadership Council member in your area.