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Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS)

By: Tabitha Mishra
| Last updated: August 31, 2022

What Does Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Mean?

A rollover protective structure (ROPS) is a steel structure attached to the cab of heavy powered mobile machinery to protect the operator from crushing injuries in the event of a rollover accident. They are usually a built-in component of the machinery, but in some cases they are purchased and installed by an aftermarket dealer.

Safeopedia Explains Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS)

Most construction and agricultural work requires the use of powered mobile equipment such as crawlers, bulldozers, backhoes, graders, tractors, and trenchers.

Using this type of machinery on steep, rugged, or uneven terrain can cause it to overturn. Unsurprisingly, these incidents are dangerous not only for anyone near the machinery but also for the operator at the controls. in fact, tractor overturn is the leading cause fo fatality in the agricultural sector in the United States.

This is why rollover protective structures have become standard on farm equipment and other mobile heavy machinery. While they don't prevent rollovers from occurring, they do minimize the damage and the severity of the injuries caused by them.

How Rollover Protective Structures Work

A ROPS is a structure made of bars that attach to the frame of the machinery. It effectively acts as a cage that surrounds the operator and can withstand impact during a rollover.

Even with a ROPS in place, however, there is a possibility of the operator being ejected from the cab during a rollover, meaning they would lose the protection afforded by the system. To prevent this, operators should always wear a seatbelt while the machinery is in motion.

Regulatory Requirements for ROPS Frames

OSHA standard number 1926.1002 sets out the requirements for ROPS frames.

According to section (b) of the standard, protective frames for equipment manufactured before July 15, 2019 should meet test and performance requirements of the Society of Automotive Engineers standards:

  • J334a: Protective Frame Test Procedures and Performance Requirements
  • J168: Protective Enclosures — Test Procedures and Performance Requirements

Section (c) covers protective frames for equipment manufactured on or after July 15, 2019 and specifies that these should meet test and performance requirements for one of two International Standard Organization (ISO) standards:

  • ISO 5700:2013, Tractors for agriculture and forestry – ROPS – static test method and acceptance conditions
  • ISO 3471:2008 Earth-Moving Machinery – ROPS – Laboratory tests and performance requirements.

Reducing Rollover Risks for Tractors

In addition to installing a ROPS and buckling up, operators can also follow a few safety tips to prevent the risk of rollovers, including:

  • Slowing down in difficult terrain (slopes, rough ground, areas with rocks and stumps)
  • Avoiding sudden or sharp turns
  • Installing weights to counterbalance equipment mounted at the front or the rear of the machine
  • Getting familiar with the machne and its controls before putting it to work

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