As a farmer you may be self-employed, have employees, or manage a farm. No matter which one you are, you have legal health and safety duties.
By law, employers and self-employed persons must ensure that a tractor with wheels is not used at their workplace unless it is fitted with ROPS.
There are very limited circumstances where this requirement does not apply, see 'Limited circumstances the ROPS requirement does not apply' section for more information.
Most tractors, no matter their age, now have ROPS retro-fit kits available. There are many ROPS designs and configurations, including fold-down ROPS for use underneath trees with protruding branches.
ROPS should be fitted by a suitably qualified person. Drilling and or welding of ROPS can affect the structural integrity of the ROPS and whether it can hold the weight of the tractor in the event of a roll-over. See 'Further Information' section for guidance on suitably qualified persons.
Tips to prevent tractor roll-overs include:
when pulling heavy loads, never hitch above the centre line of the axle
engage the clutch gently when starting up a hill or towing
avoid tractor work on steep slopes
use wide wheel settings and correct ballast
Keeping safe in the ROPS zone
The ROPs zone refers to the area of protection provided by the ROPS to the operator, in the event of a tractor roll-over.
Seatbelts help keep an operator safely within the ROPs zone. Ensure all seatbelts are in good working condition, and are used whenever you are operating the tractor.
If your tractor is not fitted with a seatbelt, there are retro-fit kits available, contact your local dealer for these.
Tractors without ROPS are far more dangerous should a roll-over occur.
Without wearing a seatbelt you can easily be thrown from the tractor then crushed by the tractor or ROPS. This can even happen even if you have a cabin on your tractor.
Wearing a seatbelt keeps you safely in the ROPS zone.
Limited circumstances the ROPS requirement does not apply
The law requiring that ROPS must be fitted to a tractor does not apply in limited circumstances where:
A tractor manufactured in, or imported into, Victoria before 1 July 1981, if it is not reasonably practicable to fit roll-over protection to the tractor. Note: If a commercially manufactured ROPS is available for the tractor, WorkSafe Victoria considers it reasonably practicable to have ROPS installed on older plant.
A tractor used at a workplace in circumstances in which there is no likelihood of the tractor overturning. Note: This exclusion generally applies to stationary plant used for activity such as pumping and where the plant is not used with any attachments or at any other location on the property.
A tractor fitted with ROPS, where the ROPS have been temporarily removed or lowered and is being used under a tree or other vegetation or in another place where there is insufficient space for the tractor to operate effectively while the ROPS is fitted. Note: This exclusion only applies while using the tractor in these circumstances. As soon as the tractor is being used in a place that has sufficient space, the ROPS must be reinstated.
A tractor weighing less than 560 kilograms, the weight being taken in the lightest form in which the tractor is normally available for retail sale when new and without water, fuel or lubricating oil. Note: Tractors and lawnmowers of this weight have also rolled-over and caused fatalities so it's recommended that you install a ROPS if they are available.