A news article came across my desk last week. I know, that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the subject of the article was very close to the heart of a Ventrac employee, Eric Fodor. Our local newspaper wrote the story about Eric’s sister, Alyssa Fodor. Alyssa and Eric experienced the tragic loss of their grandfather several years ago due to a tractor rollover accident. As I read through the text of this article, I thought it was very thought provoking and was something that needed to be shared with our readers. Maybe you have had a similar experience as the Fodor family, and even if you have not, hopefully we can help Alyssa in her quest to take a horrible accident and give it a higher purpose. She now makes it her passion and mission to develop programs to make sure tractors are equipped with ROPS (rollover protective structures) in hopes that other families may avoid the pain her family went through.
Fatalities from tractor accidents, specifically, rollover incidents, account for more than 50 percent of all tractor related deaths, but with the proper use of ROPS, Rollover Protective Structures, along with seat belts, these accidents have a 99.9% chance of being prevented.
According to Wikipedia, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (USA) believes that ROPS and proper seatbelt use on tractors can eliminate nearly all fatalities caused by tractor and lawn mower overturns. (Without a seatbelt, the rider may be thrown from the tractor during the overturn, and thus left unprotected by the ROPS).
As hard as it has been for Alyssa to speak about the loss of her grandfather, she now has made it her personal crusade to spread the word about the importance of tractor safety, specifically ROPS. Alyssa is currently organizing a special farm safety event in her local area to increase awareness of the importance of ROPS. She has been instrumental in designing programs in several states, through the state extension services, to offer rebates to farmers who wish to retrofit their tractors with ROPS. Her next goal is to see Ohio offer these rebates to farmers. Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont currently offer a rebate program through their state extension services. For more information on the rebate program, visit www.ropsr4u.com. The website is full of valuable information, videos and more facts on rollover accidents.
Alyssa is taking a tragic accident and making it an amazing project to reach out to others and help prevent unnecessary farm accidents. What can YOU do? Start by being proactive in your own backyard. Start with YOUR tractor….if you don’t have a roll bar or other protective structure….GET ONE! Then let’s spread the word….help keep other tractor operators safe.
If you would like to read more, check out this article from Rural Lifestyle Dealer on the proper use of ROPS.