Integrating Cost-effective Rollover Protective Structure Installation in High School Agricultural Mechanics: A Feasibility Study

Joan Mazur, Stacy Vincent, Jennifer Watson, Susan Westneat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: This study with three Appalachian county agricultural education programs examined the feasibility, effectiveness, and impact of integrating a cost-effective rollover protective structure (CROPS) project into high school agricultural mechanics classes. The project aimed to (1) reduce the exposure to tractor overturn hazards in three rural counties through the installation of CROPS on seven tractors within the Cumberland Plateau in the east region; (2) increase awareness in the targeted rural communities of cost-effective ROPS designs developed by the National Institution for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to encourage ROPS installations that decrease the costs of a retrofit; (3) test the feasibility of integration of CROPS construction and installations procedures into the required agricultural mechanics classes in these agricultural education programs; and (4) explore barriers to the implementation of this project in high school agricultural education programs. Eighty-two rural students and three agricultural educators participated in assembly and installation instruction. Data included hazard exposure demographic data, knowledge and awareness of CROPS plans, and pre-post knowledge of construction and assessment of final CROPS installation. Findings demonstrated the feasibility and utility of a CROPS education program in a professionally supervised secondary educational setting. The project promoted farm safety and awareness of availability and interest in the NIOSH Cost-effective ROPS plans. Seven CROPS were constructed and installed. New curriculum and knowledge measures also resulted from the work. Lessons learned and recommendations for a phase 2 implementation and further research are included.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-159
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
There are 8,000 agricultural education programs in the United States, with more than 100,000 students, the majority of whom plan futures in agriculture, either on their own family farm operations or in agribusiness or other agricultural careers. Preparing these future farmers to engage in a culture of safety has become an increasingly important part of agricultural education programs.10 Curricula typically include classes in farm machinery operation and safety. Future farmers will do much of the repair work, including welding, on their operations themselves, or supervise or hire others to do so. Over half of all farms have welding or oxy-acetyline systems.11 In Kentucky, the site for this study, there are 12,725 agricultural education program juniors and seniors enrolled in agricultural mechanics and power equipment classes where a welding project is integrated into the class requirements. In Kentucky, 36% of agricultural education graduating seniors will enter the workforce directly and need to be prepared for that experience directly out of high school.12 Our research team reasoned that making these future farmers aware of the CROPS retrofit plans and costs, and having this knowledge and skill, would be an important sustainability strategy to reduce workers’ exposure to fatality and injury through retrofits of older tractors often found in any agricultural operation. A pilot study was funded through a NIOSH Agricultural Center small grant feasibility program.

Publisher Copyright:
© , Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Agricultural education
  • agricultural mechanics CROPS
  • tractor safety
  • youth equipment safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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