Construction Site Safety – The AP reports on a Kentucky mine worker dying after his bulldozer tipped over when pushing debris over a 180-foot wall an American coal mine. He’s the twentieth coal miner killed this year in the U.S. Here in the Midwest, Iowa, we see this same type of accident when farmers driving tractors get too close to a field terrace. Terraces are used to impede erosion by getting hills layered by leveling strips of hillside land.
In agriculture, a terrace is a leveled section of a hilly cultivated area, designed as a method of soil conservation to slow or prevent the rapid surface runoff of irrigation water. Often such land is formed into multiple terraces, giving a stepped appearance. The human landscapes of rice cultivation in terraces that follow the natural contours of the escarpments like contour plowing is a classic feature of the island of Bali and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Benguet, Philippines. In Peru, the Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by drystone walling to create terraces. This form of land use is prevalent in many countries, and is used for crops requiring a lot of water, such as rice. Terraces are also easier for both mechanical and manual sowing and harvesting than a steep slope would be.
NIOSH investigates each incident. They have in-house and state based reports. Farming fatality rates from tractor rollovers is prevalent and accounts for a large number of farm deaths.
“Agriculture has one of the highest occupational fatality rates of all industries in the United States (1). Tractors and other types of agricultural equipment account for a large proportion of these fatalities, and farm-tractor rollovers account for approximately 130 work-related deaths each year in the United States (2). Although rollover protective structures (ROPS) are effective in protecting tractor operators from fatal injuries during rollovers (3-5), most tractors in the United States are not equipped with ROPS (4-7). Beginning in 1985, tractor manufacturers in the United Sates agreed to sell only tractors with ROPS; however, many older tractors without ROPS remain in use. To determine the prevalence of the use of ROPS, beginning in 1992, the Farm Family Health and Hazard Surveillance (FFHHS) program * collected state-based data on tractor age and use of ROPS from selected states. As of August 1997, four states had completed collection and analysis of data on farm tractors. This report summarizes the results of that survey, which indicates that 80%-90% of tractors in use in the four states were manufactured before 1985 and that less than 40% are equipped with ROPS.”
If you want an example of the types of tractor without rollover protection look up ABC’s Good Morning America with Chris Como and Sam Champion as they race tractors without rollover protection. It’s certainly not the smartest thing I’ve seen those two do. Watch closely because when Chris Como driving the green tractor during the tractor pull has rollover protection. When racing Sam Champion neither has a ROP. So this morning we have Chris Como with the do’s and don’ts of tractor ROPS. Thanks Chris, and congratulations on beating Sam.