A hazard alert has been issued by the University of Iowa College of Public Health after an especially bad month in Iowa for fatal tractor accidents. Four farmers, all elderly, died in separate incidents between June 8th and July 8th. Each person was killed when an older tractor rolled over and pinned them underneath.
U-I Occupational Health Professor Marizen Ramirez says tractor rollovers are a significant danger every year. “On average, we have 8 to 10 tractor rollover deaths per year, so for us to see four in a one month period of time – it did catch our attention,” Ramirez said.
The U-I has launched a public information campaign to encourage farmers driving older equipment to outfit their machines with tractor rollover protection. Newer tractors come with cabs or with the safety gear already installed.
“It takes money to try to retrofit these models, so it’s a challenge for our communities to come up with innovative ways to encourage folks to retrofit this older equipment so they can keep themselves safe,” Ramirez said.
She added that anti-rollover devices used with seatbelts are very effective in preventing injury and death.