What, exactly, is a ROPS?
What is the meaning of this mysterious acronym?
A Roll-Over-Protection-Structure (ROPS) is a structure or system designed to protect equipment operators from serious injury in the case of a rollover accident. ROPS are designed by Professional Engineers and must meet specific performance criteria set by the SEA and OSHA. ROPS run the gamut in the world of machinery and can be found on everything from small, farm tractors to the largest earth-moving machines on the planet. It can be difficult to know if your machine requires a ROPS; and if so, what kind and why?
Who needs one?
The presence of a ROPS holds great potential to save lives; that’s the bottom line. So, if safety is a personal concern, then a ROPS might be one of your primary needs. But what about the law? What if we step outside the lines of personal opinion and desire? Well, according to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), a ROPS must be installed on the following machines:
- Crawler tractors and crawler loaders
- Wheel loaders and wheel tractors
- The tractor portion of semi-mounted scrapers, dumpers, wagons, bottom-dump wagons, rear-dump wagons, and towed fifth wheel attachments
- Skid-steer loaders
- Agricultural tractors
If your machine fits the bill, it’s best to ensure that it’s equipped with a ROPS.
A ROPS can be anything from a simple, single roll bar, to a full-blown, complete cab. A ROPS is most effective when it’s in good condition and meets its unique performance criteria. This specific criteria is found by loading and testing each ROPS, gathering data, and then establishing regulations based on the findings.
Regulations are set and enforced by agencies like OSHA and ISO. In the event of a rollover, it’s important that the ROPS is strong enough to withstand the weight of its respective machine, insofar that it doesn’t collapse and crush the operator.
It’s vital to note that not all ROPS are created equal; not all ROPS are fit for every machine. If you’re having trouble deciding which ROPS is appropriate for your implement, it’s recommended that you refer to the OEM resources for accurate information.
Maintenance and Regulation
With the great protection that comes with a ROPS, comes great responsibility. There may be temptation to start customizing your ROPS with various attachments like light brackets, radios, fire extinguishers etc. However, it must be known that any alteration or change made to the ROPS can void all certifications and warranty assumed by the manufacturer.
These “alterations” or “changes” can also be something as small as a dent or ding. Look for any imperfections in the metal when inspecting your ROPS and/or evaluating used equipment for sale. It doesn’t matter if the alteration was intentional or not. The fact of the matter remains the same: if the ROPS is damaged or comprised in anyway, big problems could be looming on the horizon. In the instance that an alteration is made, the ROPS will be rendered illegitimate and the machine will be unable to work.
In order to get the machine back to work, the compromised ROPS must be re-certified or fixed in some way. In many cases, this means replacing the damaged cab with a brand new one. However, that avenue towards repair can be expensive, time consuming, and sometimes, downright unnecessary.
Often times the damage incurred to the ROPS can be treated, the integrity of the steel restored, and the machine can get back to work with minimal intervention. This is the process of ROPS Re-Certification and it’s a service offered by CRA.
In short, ROPS save lives. The use of one can be the difference between trivial accident and major trauma. If your machine doesn’t have one, or your ROPS is damaged in anyway, just call CRA.
We can help!