Richard L. Parish | 7/5/2007 9:35:37 PM
All compact tractors currently sold have Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS), and most larger zero-turn mowers now have this safety feature also. A ROPS that is properly designed and used can prevent serious injury in most overturn accidents. In many accidents, a ROPS will limit overturns to 90° instead of 180°, thus greatly reducing the severity of the accident. If the tractor or mower does overturn, the ROPS provides a safe “envelope” for the operator – if the operator stays in that “envelope.”
There are two very important considerations involved in properly using a ROPS. First, a folding ROPS must be in the “up” position to do any good. Never put a folding ROPS down unless it is absolutely necessary, and always put it back up as soon the need for having it folded is over.
A second important consideration in the use of a ROPS is to wear your seat belt. Many people think that using a seat belt is unnecessary or even foolish on a slow-moving tractor or mower, but that is dangerous thinking. A seat belt on a tractor or mower serves a different purpose than a seat belt on an automobile. On a car, one of the primary purposes of a seat belt is to restrain a person from being thrown forward in a crash. On a tractor or mower, the ROPS forms a protected envelope. If the operator stays in that envelope, he or she is unlikely to be injured in an overturn. The primary purpose of the seat belt on a tractor or mower is to keep the operator in that protected envelope. Even at very low speeds, a tractor or mower can still overturn.
If you don’t wear your seat belt, you will likely be thrown out of the seat if the tractor or mower overturns. When that happens, some part of your body is likely to be crushed by machine components – including the ROPS frame. A ROPS can protect you only if you stay within the protected envelope. If you don’t wear your seat belt, you defeat the protection of a ROPS.
You should make it a habit to always fasten your seat belt before starting a tractor or mower. For your protection, Wear that seat belt!
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture