Manufacturers often do not design farm equipment safely, so crashworthiness of equipment and protecting from equipment rollovers is a primary concern.
Both farm equipment crashes and rollovers are common on the job. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that approximately 5.2 deaths per 100,000 farm occur each year due to traffic-related motor vehicle crashes. And tractor rollovers account for one of every three farm worker fatalities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Crashworthiness at Farms
A 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture report finds that the farm industries’ crash fatality rate is the third highest when compared to other industries.
The report also notes that, while there aren’t as many equipment crashes on farms as there are passenger-vehicle crashes on highways, farm is increasingly driving equipment on highways.
This is due to many factors, including the need to transport using farm equipment on public roadways; lack of federal and state regulation; tractors and other farm equipment designed to operate at higher speeds; the growth of urban neighborhoods into rural areas.
Characteristics of Crashworthiness Involving Farm Equipment
Farm equipment is heavy, complex, fast and dangerous. Farm vehicles are also much bigger than passenger vehicles. As a result, crashes involving farm equipment tend to be severe.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has defined some common characteristics of crashes involving farm equipment:
- Crash fatality rates in the most rural counties are almost double the rate in urban counties.
- Rural crashes are more severe, and more likely to result in death than urban crashes.
- Certain types of crashes, such as those between motor vehicles and farm vehicles, usually involve slow moving tractors with trailing equipment and higher speed motor vehicles
- The environment of the rural road contributes to increased crashes and more severe injury outcomes.
- In crashes involving farm vehicles and passenger vehicles, farm vehicle operators are killed nearly twice as often as passengers in the other vehicle.
Compensation is Available
Farm vehicle crashes are severe and likely to be disabling or fatal. If you have suffered a farm equipment crash, if one of your family members has been injured or killed on the farm due to a crash, or if you have lost wages due to a crash, you may be entitled to compensation−including payments over and above Worker’s Compensation. For a free and totally confidential consultation, contact the Farm Injury Resource Center. No matter what state you live in, what your employment status or your nationality, we can help.
Rollovers in Farms
Rollovers account for the majority of injuries and deaths on a farm. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1,538 agricultural died from tractor rollovers between 1992 and 2007.
Did you Know:
- Tractor rollover fatality rates are high, but they decreased between 1992 and 2007, likely due to increases in the use of rollover protection systems (ROPS).
- The NIOSH Division of Safety Research and Protective Technology Branch of the Centers for Disease Control has developed cost-effective rollover protective structures (CROPS) as an alternative to commercial ROPS. To date, farmers installed NIOSH CROPS in New York, Virginia, Vermont and Pennsylvania. Farmers can install CROPS on older tractors for which ROPS are not available. Manufacturers designed CROPS for four tractor models: (1)Ford 8N, (2) Ford 3000, (3) Ford 4000, and (4) Massey Ferguson 135.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rollovers account for one of every three farm worker fatalities.
Why Rollovers Happen
The high rate of rollovers is because, while newer farm equipment is required to have ROPS, older equipment often lacks ROPS. Of the 4.8 million tractors currently operated in the U.S., for example, 50% don’t have ROPS or seat belts.
Even when equipment does have ROPS, fatalities can still occur. Between 2000 and 2006, for instance, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated more than 50 roller/compactor rollover incidents involving a variety of equipment models. It found that 10% of these occurred with an ROP system. However, none of these accidents resulted in a fatality—a result also associated with operator use of seat belts. (Seat belts must be used in combination with ROPs to provide the highest degree of safety.)
The danger of crashworthiness and rollovers is especially high when:
- Working near road edge or embankment.
- Working near steep slopes.
- Turning curves.
- Compacting soil, since soft soil pockets can collapse under the weight of the unit.
- Loading/unloading machines onto trailers.
- Shifting gears or using brakes.
Compensation is Available
Farm vehicle rollovers are severe and likely to be disabling or fatal. If you have suffered a farm equipment rollover, if one of your family members has been injured or killed on the farm due to a rollover, or if you have lost wages due to a rollover, you may be entitled to compensation−including payments over and above Worker’s Compensation. For a free and totally confidential consultation, contact the Farm Injury Resource Center. No matter what state you live in, your employment status is or your nationality, we can help.