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Rollover protection structures (ROPS)

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Community Members Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Federal Government Public Health Professionals & Advocates
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Rollover protection structures (ROPS) are metal bars, frames, or crush proof cabs designed to prevent tractors from rolling over and crushing their drivers.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced fatal and non-fatal injuries

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that ROPS prevent agricultural fatalities (Hard 2011, Reynolds 2000). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

As the use of ROPS increased, agricultural fatality rates have fallen (Reynolds 2000). Agricultural fatality rates remain higher in areas of the United States where ROPS are least widely used and lower in the areas with the highest ROPS usage (Hard 2011).

Some researchers suggest incentives to encourage more farmers to install ROPS (Murphy 2010). For example, a New York state social marketing campaign incorporating rebates, messages, and other promotional activities increased ROPS sales (Sorensen 2008) and positively influenced readiness and intention to retrofit (Sorensen 2011). The campaign was demonstrated to be cost-effective within 3 years (Sorensen 2010).

The cost of a ROPS is estimated to be $400 to $2,000 per tractor, including installation (Reynolds 2000). Retrofitting all older tractors in the United States would cost approximately $1.2 billion, potentially saving 1,478 lives (Reynolds 2000).   

The effectiveness of ROPS is limited if drivers choose not to wear seat belts (Reynolds 2000).


United States

A national, voluntary standard has made ROPS standard equipment on all new tractors since 1985. Retrofits are available for many older tractors, but this option is not often used.

Implementation Resources

CDC-CROPS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cost-effective rollover protective structures (CROPS). Accessed on November 27, 2015
CDC-NIOSHASHC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NIOSH agricultural safety and health centers. Accessed on November 24, 2015

Citations - Evidence

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. Accessed on February 17, 2016
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. Accessed on March 1, 2016
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. Accessed on May 24, 2016
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. Accessed on May 24, 2016
Sorensen 2010* - Sorensen JA, Jenkins P, Bayes B, Clark S, May JJ. Cost-effectiveness of a ROPS social marketing campaign. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 2010;16(1):31-40. Accessed on May 24, 2016
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. Accessed on May 24, 2016

Page Last Updated

May 22, 2012

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