Cost-Effectiveness of a ROPS Retrofit Education Campaign

The 3-year ROPS I project (1996-1999) implemented and evaluated a community-level program to promote the installation of ROPS and seatbelts on unprotected tractors. The study design included a pre- and post intervention telephone survey of a random sample of farmers to evaluate the success of the program in two treatment counties compared to two control counties. The two intervention counties were geographically distant from each other and from the control counties. However, in July 1995 a dealership in one control county launched an anomalous intervention that promoted the retrofitting of older tractors with ROPS and seatbelts by farmers. Over the following 4½ years, the dealership sold about 11 retrofit kits per year. Before its promotion program, the dealership had sold only one to two retrofit kits per year.

The dealer launched the intervention after the death of a customer from a tractor overturn. The customer had attended the dealer's Tractor Day event, which incorporated an at-cost ROPS retrofit campaign that was encouraged by tractor manufacturers (personal communication from J Bobbitt, J & G Equipment, to Myers and Cole, 2002). Following the dealer's special one-day event, the customer purchased a retrofit kit, but deferred installing the ROPS until his summer vacation from his off-farm job. In May 1995, as he continued operating his non-ROPS tractor, it overturned and killed him.

The dealer's motivation and success in mounting his company's own ROPS promotion effort provided a unique opportunity to evaluate the effect of a dealership campaign for retrofitting farm tractors with ROPS. The dealership's 4½ year intervention was shown to potentially reduce both fatal (0.26) and non-fatal (1.50) injuries by 2.6% in its county over the intervention period using a 20-year analytic horizon. When extrapolated statewide, 6.7 lives would be saved and 39 non-fatal injuries would be averted over the combined 24.5 year combined intervention period and analytic horizon. The intervention for this period was cost effective, with a "savings" of 35,713 dollars per injury (fatal plus non-fatal) averted, calculated at a 4% discount rate.

Further Reading:

Myers ML, Cole HP, Westneat SC. Cost-effectiveness of a ROPS retrofit education campaign. J Agric Saf Health. 2004 May;10(2):77-90. PMID: 15216648

Myers ML, Cole HP, Westneat SC. Cost-effectiveness of a dealer's intervention in retrofitting rollover protective structures. Inj Prev. 2005 Jun;11(3):169-73. PMID: 15216648