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Learning about tractor rollover protection

Presentations offered at Missouri State Fair

Fairgoers can learn how to prevent one of the leading causes of farm deaths and disabilities – tractor rollovers.

University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Department of Agriculture will showcase tractor rollover protection at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. which runs through Aug. 21.

Fairgoers can see interactive demonstrations and videos on rollover accidents and hear from MU and MDA Show-Me-Farm Safety representatives in the Agriculture Building on the state fairgrounds, says Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri Extension health and safety specialist.

Tractors, particularly older models, have a high center of gravity that makes them unstable, says Funkenbusch. A tractor without a rollover protection (ROP) device can expel or crush the driver while rolling. Tractor rollovers are fatal as much as 40% of the time, she says.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 44 Missouri farmers died in tractor rollover accidents from 2011 to 2018. Tractor rollovers occur most often in tractors made before 1985. Many of these tractors remain in use on Missouri farms and ranches.

ROPs are built of high-grade steel and engineered to provide the operator with a zone of protection. ROPS limit most rolls to a 90-degree side-flop.

In addition to death and disability, rollovers can have serious economic consequences. According to Penn State Cooperative Extension, 70% of farms go out of business within five years of a rollover fatality.

Fortunately, retrofitting tractors with ROP devices, in conjunction with wearing seat belts, can prevent accidents.

Funkenbusch welcomes fairgoers to stop by the Agriculture Building to participate in educational and fun activities. For more information, go to in new window).

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