OBJECTIVE: Tractor rollovers are a major cause of farm injuries and fatalities. The authors used data from a statewide surveillance study to estimate the prevalence of safety features such as rollover protective structures, seat belts, and power take-off shields on farm tractors in Kentucky. METHODS: Using data from the Farm Family Health and Hazard Surveillance Project, the authors report on the prevalence of farm tractor safety features by size of farm, by region of the state, by number of tractors per farm, and by tractor age and estimate the prevalence of tractors equipped with rollover protection by region and for the state as a whole. RESULTS: Of the estimated 85,446 family-owned farms in Kentucky with at least one tractor, an estimated 55.6%, or 47,515 farms, do not have a tractor equipped with a rollover protective structure. Few tractors that are 10 years old or older were found to be equipped with seat belts; no tractors that were more than 20 years old were equipped with seat belts. CONCLUSIONS: Kentucky, with an estimated 25 to 30 tractor-related fatalities each year, may contribute up to 20% of the total number of farm tractor fatalities in the nation. The overall prevalence of rollover protective structures on tractors in Kentucky is lower than estimates for other states as reported in national survey data. The study's findings suggest the need to target smaller farms with one or two tractors for retrofitting of rollover protective structures and for tractor safety programs.
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