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Action Learning: A New Method to Increase Tractor Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Adoption
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Agromedicine
  • Description:
    Action Learning is a problem-solving process that is used in various industries to address difficult problems. This project applied Action Learning to a leading problem in agricultural safety. Tractor overturns are the leading cause of fatal injury to farmworkers. This cause of injury is preventable using rollover protective structures (ROPS), protective equipment that functions as a roll bar structure to protect the operator in the event of an overturn. For agricultural tractors manufactured after 1976 and employee operated, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation requires employers to equip them with ROPS and seat belts. By the mid-1980s, US tractor manufacturers began adding ROPS on all farm tractors over 20 horsepower sold in the United States (http://www.nasdonline.org/document/113/d001656/rollover-protection-for-farm-tractor-operators.html). However, many older tractors remain in use without ROPS, putting tractor operators at continued risk for traumatic injury and fatality. For many older tractor models ROPS are available for retrofit, but for a variety of reasons, tractor owners have not chosen to retrofit those ROPS. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) attempted various means to ameliorate this occupational safety risk, including the manufacture of a low-cost ROPS for self-assembly. Other approaches address barriers to adoption. An Action Learning approach to increasing adoption of ROPS was followed in Virginia and New York, with mixed results. Virginia took action to increase the manufacturing and adoption of ROPS, but New York saw problems that would be insurmountable. Increased focus on team composition might be needed to establish effective Action Learning teams to address this problem.

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