I’m writing to express my concern over the recent farm accident in Warsaw. As a member of the National Tractor Safety Coalition, I am aware of the risk that farmers take every day.
Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., resulting in a fatal injury rate of 21.8 per 100,000 workers and claiming over 200 lives in 2013. Of these fatalities, the greatest risk stems from tractor overturns; nearly 20 percent of agricultural fatalities occur in this way.
While tractor overturn fatalities can be prevented through the use of roll-over protective structures, many older tractors are not equipped with these life-saving devices. Tractors can often, be retrofitted with ROPS, but unfortunately, the cost of ROPS is too high for many farmers.
In 2006, the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health implemented a ROPS rebate program and hotline in New York to assist farmers with ROPS installation. The program provides assistance identifying the correct ROPS kit and offers rebates of 70 percent, up to $865 for retrofitting.
With great success and considerable farmer support, the New York program has expanded to cover Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Now, the National Tractor Safety Coalition is working to offer this program across the U.S..
The National Tractor Safety Coalition is a multi-sector alliance working with the mission, “to prevent tractor-related injuries and deaths in U.S. agriculture by developing and implementing collaborative, stakeholder-driven, evidence-based solutions”.
In order to successfully implement a ROPS rebate program nationally, the Coalition is utilizing partnership opportunities to raise awareness of the issue and gain support for the initiative.
I encourage your readers to contact their congressional representatives and industry leaders to urge them to support this initiative. In addition, readers who would like to participate in the Coalition can contact me at [email protected]
National Tractor Safety Coalition