Loader vehicle working on construction site

A rollover protective structure (ROPS) is a structure designed to protect heavy equipment operators from injuries that are caused during machinery overturns or rollovers.

Similar to a roll cage in a race car, a ROPS is made by bars that attach to the frame of the machinery that maintain a space that’s large enough for the body of the operator in the case of the machine rolling over. 

The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code 2009, defines a ROPS as: “Rollover protective structures (ROPS) are strong cages, frames, roll bars, or other structures attached to certain types of powered mobile equipment. ROPS systems are designed and built to provide crush protection for an operator during a rollover or accidental upset.”

What does it look like and how does it work?

Generally, a ROPS is a steel structure that surrounds the cab area of a piece of heavy machinery, such as a tractor. Depending on the machine, the ROPS may have been installed at the factory, or it could have been purchased from an aftermarket dealer.

Tractor rollover has become one of the leading causes of occupational death in the agricultural industry, and that is why ROPS have become essential for many businesses within the heavy-lifting industries.

The steel bars used in a ROPS prevent the cab area of heavy-lifting machinery becoming crushed in the event of a rollover or overturn. However, it’s important to remember that a ROPS will not stop an operator from being ejected – meaning seatbelts are still a crucial safety aspect even when working in a machinery that features ROPS.

Are there ROPS regulations in Alberta?

Within the province of Alberta, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Code 2009, ROPS are required on the following types of powered mobile equipment weighing 700 kgs (1543 lbs) or more:

  1. Tracked (crawler) or wheeled bulldozers, loaders, tractors or skidders, other than those operating with side booms;
  2. backhoes with a limited horizontal swing of 180 degrees;
  3. motor graders;
  4. self‐propelled wheeled scrapers;
  5. industrial, agricultural and horticultural tractors, including ride‐on lawnmowers;
  6. wheeled trenchers.

A ROPS must also be designed with a material that meets a minimum cold weather toughness. Using standard tubing can be a concern since most tubing does not necessarily meet the required toughness. That’s why you will notice most ROPS manufacturers use plate material in their designs.

A ROPS that complies with these CSA standards must have a permanently attached label that includes the following information:

  1. name of the ROPS manufacturer;
  2. ROPS identification number;
  3. the Canadian standard to which the ROPS was certified;
  4. and machine make and model for which the ROPS is designed.

How does a Rollover Protective Structure differ to a FOPS?

A ROPS and a FOPS tend to have similar design features, which tends to mislead people into thinking they have a ROPS. However, A FOPS is a falling object protective structure and is only intended to protect the occupant from objects falling from overhead. It is not intended to protect the person in a rollover.

ROPS and FOPS can sometimes be combined into one design, but if you have any doubt whether the piece of machinery you are using has a ROPS we strongly recommend that you contact a professional engineer as soon as possible to confirm if it is.

Protect your employees with a certified engineer

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Code 2009, a ROPS must either be supplied by the manufacturer or be certified by a professional engineer as being suited to that equipment.

In-depth knowledge and experience is crucial when it comes to the safety of your employees. With over 12 years in the industry, Sparta Engineering knows exactly what to look for when it comes to the stability and quality of your ROPS.

Our weld inspectors know exactly what to look for when it comes to safety issues, and know exactly how to fix them when we do find one. Because of our experience we see frequent and repeated issues, meaning we can resolve them quickly and to the highest standards.

Want more information on a ROPS or our inspection services? Contact us today.