From EveningTribune.com, “Rollover device on tractor saved Woodhull man’s life” by Justin Head, 3 Apri 2011.
Woodhull, NY — It was one of the the scariest moments in Anthony Marco’s life.
Last summer, Marco, a 25-year-old dairy farmer from Woodhull, rolled a six-ton tractor while working on his 300 acre farm. Thanks to the installation of a rollover protective structure (ROPS device) on his tractor through a program sponsored by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, Marco walked away unharmed.
“I was very fortunate,” he said. “It prevented (the tractor) from going all the way over and got the tractor upright. If it hadn’t been on it would have probably rolled over and broke my neck.”
The ROPS device is basically a steel post that varies in size and is secured to tractors or other small vehicles in order to stabilize the vehicle in case of an overturn.
Marco read about the ROPS program in the Country Folks Newspaper and applied for a grant soon after.
“We’ve wanted to put one on the tractor for a long time, but if it hadn’t been for the government paying for it we probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it,” he said.
NYCAMH asserts the device is “99 percent effective in preventing harm to the operator in the event of an overturn.” The device costs around $2,500-$3,000 and can be burdensome for cash-strapped farmers.
Although there is no doubt ROPS saves lives, federal budget cuts are being considered in Congress that would terminate NYCAMH’s funding for ROPS and many other farm safety programs.
NYCAMH refunds farmers up to $765 of the cost of installing a ROPS device. A seatbelt is also included with the rollbar.
“ROPS is just one of many life-saving programs sponsored by NYCAMH. For nearly 25 years, the organization has worked with New York farmers to decrease the number of farmers killed and injured on the job, address worksite hazards, prevent costly injuries and reduce workers compensation costs,” reads a press release.
NYCAMH is funded by the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (NIOSH AFF) Program. Despite great success, the NIOSH AFF Program has been targeted for termination in the 2012 federal budget.
Farmers and farm safety advocates have been in contact with state congressman to ask that NYCAMH’s funding be reinstated.
“Interestingly, mining safety research has not been cut from the proposed budget, but the agricultural fatality rate is twice that of mining and the at-risk farming population is 10 times as large,” said Julie Sorensen, a NYCAMH researcher, in a press release. “All workers in high- risk industries, including farming and mining, should receive adequate protections.”
NYCAMH is encouraging farmers and those who consume farm products to call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at 202-224-3671 and Sen. Chuck Schumer at 202-224-6542 and ask that funding for the NIOSH AFF Program remain intact.
For more information or to register for the ROPS rebate program, call 1-877-767-7748.