Iowa is no strangers to tractors. They are used every day for a variety of different jobs around the state. But working big, heavy machinery can come with its dangers, so it’s always important to be mindful of what you’re doing.

Townsquare Media; Kailey Foster
Townsquare Media; Kailey Foster
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Tractors are required to have a certain safety feature that could save lives, but many don’t actually have it.

Dr. Brandi Janssen, director of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health Center, spoke with KCRG about this life-saving safety feature that people often leave behind- a rollover protective structure.

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She says that 50 percent of tractors that are being used today, do not have rollover protective structures.

Rollover protection structures, or ROPS, is a structure that provides a protective zone around a tractor’s operator. In the event that the tractor is overturned, the operator is protected. According to BMC Public Health, ROPS when used with seatbelts is 99 percent effective in preventing death and injuries in tractor rollovers. Even without seatbelts, the technology is still effective.

Townsquare Media; Kailey Foster
Townsquare Media; Kailey Foster
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According to the National Ag Safety Database, tractor accidents are the leading cause of death and disabling injuries on farms. According to Janssen, 1 in 7 farmers involved in a rollover is permanently disabled and 70 percent of those farms that lose a farmer to a tractor rollover go out of business within five years.

Janssen adds that laws went into effect 37 years ago that require ROPS on new machines. However, tractors made before it became a standard in 1985 are still in use today which is contributing to the fatality rate.

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