Dangerous tractors without rollover protection are still to be found on Victorian farms a decade after a push to have them made a thing of the past.
ROPS have been required on most tractors since the 1990s.
In 1997-98, more than 12,000 ROPS units were fitted with the life-saving structures through a WorkSafe Victoria funded rebate program costing nearly $8-million.
Recent media reports suggested the scheme ended last year.
The Director of WorkSafe Victoria’s Manufacturing Logistics and Agriculture Division, Trevor Martin said the onus was now on tractor operators to ensure their machines were as safe as practicable.
“Deaths from tractor rollovers are now uncommon but with WorkSafe Victoria inspectors still finding them without rollover protection, the risk remains.”
Trevor Martin said while work-related deaths on farms were now at low levels it was essential that safety standards be maintained.
“We’ve found ‘retired’ tractors without ROPS are sometimes returned to service in busy periods. It is in that environment that shortcuts may be taken, creating more danger.
“Even with ROPS, not wearing seatbelts adds to the danger while unguarded power take offs and other rotating equipment can cause horrific injuries.
WorkSafe has worked closely with farming communities to understand that being badly hurt at work is not part of the job.
“A ‘she’ll be right’ attitude’ get you through. Staying on top of safety issues will. It’s an old saying, but prevention really is better than cure.”
Things to consider:
- ROPS are relatively inexpensive as are guards for power take offs.
- Tractors being sold for general use must be sold with rollover protection.
- Ensure seatbelts are fitted where practicable and used.
- Ensure tractor operators are properly trained and understand the limitations of the machine and themselves.
- Carry out maintenance, particularly to brakes and hydraulics.
WorkSafe Victoria has a range of tractor safety publications in printed form and on its website. Printed copies are available by contacting WorkSafe’s regional offices or the Advisory Service.
WorkSafe funds a free, three-hour, independent safety consultancy service for small and medium sized business.