Safety Library

Use of winch diggers – OPS, FOPS and ROPS

FISA had a recent enquiry about the requirements for Operator Protection System (OPS), Falling Objects Protection System (FOPS), and Roll Over Protective System (ROPS) when using a remote controlled winch attached to an excavator.


If the operator is outside the cab when operating then none of the above apply but the risk assessment must clearly cover where the operator is standing and the risk zones associated with material and cables hauling in the load.

However, the level of FOPS, OPS and ROPS should be assessed on use e,g operator protection in the form of guarding against material coming through the cab screens. Plus falling object protection when operating as a harvester or tree shears etc. and so on with operator protection against chainshot where a hydraulic saw is part of the process.

Typically, excavators from 2012/13 are ROPS certified – this will be evidenced within the cab.

FISA are working towards giving better guidance on modified machinery and the compatibility of the likes of winches to the units they are mounted on, how they are used and maintained.

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