Developing a Smart ROPS Decision-Making Guide

The use of ROPS (roll bars) and seatbelts on tractors has been shown to be 98 percent effective in preventing tractor-overturn injuries and deaths (Cole et al., 2006). Nevertheless, as many as one third of all agricultural tractors currently in use in the United States lack ROPS. In some areas, the prevalence of unprotected tractors is even higher.

Lack of information about the availability of ROPS for specific makes and models of tractors poses a barrier to farmers who might wish to make their tractors safer. Not knowing which companies supply retrofit ROPS, what ROPS are available for which tractors, and how to obtain these protective structures either prevents, or is a powerful disincentive to, farmers from locating and installing ROPS on their tractors. This information barrier also prevents owners from retrofitting ROPS on the increasing number of “gray market” tractors entering the United States (that is, tractors imported without manufacturer authorization), particularly compact models manufactured and used in Japan.

To meet the needs of stakeholders and to enable them to make wise decisions about ROPS retrofitting, Principal Investigator Mark Purschwitz, PhD, has developed The Kentucky ROPS Guide, now available online at 

The easy-to-use online guide is designed for farmers, dealers, and technicians not only in Kentucky but also throughout the United States and Canada. The Kentucky ROPS Guide offers full search capability that enables any tractor owner, equipment dealer or technician to determine the availability, source, and acquisition procedures for retrofit ROPS for any domestic or imported agricultural tractor in the United States for which a retrofit is available. The new and expanded guide also enables users to determine when a retrofit ROPS is not available for any particular tractor make and model of interest. In other words, if it cannot be found in The Kentucky ROPS Guide, it does not yet exist.

This project was supported by CDC/NIOSH Cooperative Agreement 3 U50-OH007547-07S1.

For more information see The Kentucky ROPS Guide at or contact the Principal Investigator, Mark Purschwitz, PhD; Associate Extension Professor, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering; 104 CE Barnhart Building; Lexington, KY, 40546-0276. Email: